The workers of Visvesaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISP) in Bhadravati of Shivamogga district have urged the Union Government to revive the plant, instead of going for disinvestment. The workers believe the unit could make a profit if it was revived by investing about ₹300 crore from the Steel Authority of India Limited.
Representatives of the VISL Workers’ Association recently met Shivamogga Lok Sabha member B.Y. Raghavendra and submitted a memorandum in this regard. The MP is said to have assured the workers that he would meet the Ministers and officers at the Centre in this regard.
The Union Government decided on disinvestment of the plant, a unit of the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), in 2016. A notification was issued in 2018. “As nobody is ready to take it, the process has not gone ahead in the last four years. Hence, instead of disinvestment, the government should revive it using the SAIL funds. Anyhow SAIL has declared a net profit of ₹12,015 crores in 2021-22. It has also decided to take up expansion at a cost of ₹1.5 lakh crore. With an investment of ₹300 crore from SAIL, the unit can revived”, said J. Jagadish, president of the association.
The plant set up in 1923 by Wadiyars of Mysuru at one point had 13,000 employees and the production of hot metal (liquid iron) had reached as high as 2.2 lakh tonnes per annum. However, the production came down in recent years. At present, there are about 280 permanent employees and 1,340 contract labourers.
Mr Jagadish said in the recent days, the production activities had increased due to inter-plant transfer orders, besides the orders from Railways. “The turnover has increased by ₹400 crore per annum, and the loss has come down substantially. If the unit gets funds for revival, the unit will be operational as it was earlier”, he added.