Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M Karunanidhi has urged the Central government not to go ahead with the proposed disinvestment of the Salem Steel Plant.
He said former chief minister C N Annadurai had wanted to set up a steel plant in Salem. “Soon after Anna’s death, I went to New Delhi for the five year plan meeting in 1970. At the meeting, I said if the Centre was not announcing a steel plant in Salem, Tamil Nadu would not agree to the five year plan,” said Karunanidhi.
It is only after this that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi announced the decision to set up a plant in Salem as part of the Fourth Five Year Plan. She laid the foundation for the same in October 1970, he said.
In a statement, the DMK leader said that the plant is now of world-class standards and employs 2,500 people directly and over 5,000 indirectly.
It produces 30,000 tonnes of steel products each year, mainly for the Integrated Coach Factory. He said the plant had turned out profits of Rs. 100 crore each year from 2003-2010 and had undergone a Rs. 2,000 crore equipment upgrade soon after.
Karunanidhi said that privatisation should not be an option; the Central government should consider appointing efficient officers to run the plant instead. He also said the SSP can produce electricity at Rs. 4 per unit if a power plant is set up.