Student and youth organizations in Andhra Pradesh have called for a ‘KG-to-PG’ bandh. It is a general strike affecting educational institutions from kindergarten to postgraduate levels on November 8. They are rallying behind two key demands. One is the establishment of the Kadapa steel plant and another is a plea to reconsider the decision to privatize the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).
The leaders of these student and youth organizations have appealed to various groups to support this bandh, which was scheduled to coincide with the 1,000-day mark of the anti-privatization protests by VSP employees and trade unions. The focus on both these projects are vital for the state’s development.
The proposed ₹8,800-crore steel plant in Sunnapurallapalli, Kadapa district, has been a longstanding aspiration for the people of this economically disadvantaged and drought-prone region. Upon completion, the steel plant is poised to have a transformative impact on industrial expansion. With its cutting-edge infrastructure and a capacity of up to 3 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), it will produce top-quality steel products. Its strategic positioning in close proximity to key transportation routes, raw material sources, and industrial centers promises to create a significant number of job opportunities, both directly and indirectly.
The student leaders strongly criticize the BJP-led central government for its intentions to privatize the VSP. The VSP is viewed as a matter of immense pride for Andhra Pradesh, as it stands as the state’s most substantial and noteworthy public sector industry.
Despite opposition from trade unions and other organizations, they regret the lack of a vocal stance from the YSR Congress Party and the Opposition TDP against the central government’s privatization plans. They argue that these political parties could have managed pressure on the government to reconsider the privatization decision if they had taken a more determined stance.
The allegations against the central government for not upholding its pledge to generate two crore jobs each year became par, when they prioritized the privatization of public sector organizations. In the interest of the people, these student organizations see it as their duty to save these institutions from privatization.
(Photo credit: GN Rao)