Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami Friday underlined his government‘s commitment against any attempt to privatise the Salem Steel Plant, saying all MPs from the State can meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the matter.
Responding to Leader of the Opposition MK Stalin, who raised the issue in the State Assembly, Palaniswami, also the AIADMK Joint Coordinator, assured his party’s support in highlighting the issue in both Houses of Parliament. He recalled that the State government had resisted a similar attempt two years ago, and reiterated that the Salem Steel plant, a special unit of Steel Authority of India Ltd, (SAIL), should continue to remain a public sector undertaking.
“As a first step, your and our MPs can meet the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and the minister in-charge (Dharmendra Pradhan) to press for the withdrawal of the move,” Palaniswami said. The MPs could apprise Modi and Pradhan of the importance of the plant and especially highlight the “wrong public perception” such disinvestment of PSUs could lead to, the chief minister said. “Let the MPs of AIADMK, DMK and Congress exert pressure on the Prime Minister and the Minister concerned by submitting a memorandum to them,” he said.
Further, the Tamil Nadu chief minister assured the AIADMK’s cooperation in both Houses of Parliament to raise the issue so that the privatisation move could be thwarted.
Meanwhile, protesting against the move, employees of Salem Steel plant staged a one-day token strike in Salem. They began their strike from 6 am and staged a demonstration in front of the Salem Steel plant, raising slogans against the BJP-led government, police said. The protesters prevented a few workers who attempted to go to work, police said.
There would be a production loss of over 1,000 tonnes due to the strike and the agitation will continue in other forms if the proposal was not withdrawn, sources said.