Thursday, May 30, 2024

Adani Gangavaram Port Protests hit steel production at VSP Port workers have been on strike for the past five days

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The ongoing protests by workers of Adani Gangavaram Port Ltd. has dealt a significant blow to production at Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP). As two ships laden with imported coal remain stranded without discharge, the steel plant faces a dire shortage of essential raw materials. For the past five days, workers at the port have been on strike, demanding the fulfillment of promises regarding employment conditions and wage increases along with social security measures. This standoff has paralysed operations at the port, hindering the timely delivery of crucial resources to VSP.
In response to the escalating crisis, both the RINL management and trade unions have issued an urgent appeal to the State government for intervention. They seek permission for a select group of RINL workers and a portion of the port workforce to facilitate the discharge of cargo from the stranded ships. A senior official from RINL expressed concerns over the situation, stating, “We are trying our level best to tide over the crisis.” However, with production capacity already curtailed due to rising raw material prices and procurement challenges, VSP finds itself in a precarious position.
Unlike other major manufacturers, RINL lacks captive mines and heavily relies on external sources for iron ore and coking coal, essential for steel production.

With blast furnace-3 shut down for an extended period due to raw material shortages, RINL had recently entered agreements with other companies to procure necessary resources. Despite the ongoing challenges, RINL managed to achieve a sales turnover of Rs 23,129 crore during the fiscal year 2023-24, reflecting a marginal growth. However, the current disruption threatens to derail any progress made.
With buffer stocks dwindling rapidly, RINL is resorting to procuring coal from alternative sources, including Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL). However, the immediate concern remains the two ships stranded at Gangavaram Port, carrying 2.2 lakh tonnes of coal urgently needed by VSP.
District Collector A Mallikarjuna has intervened in the matter, urging port officials to resolve the impasse swiftly. Meanwhile, representatives from the Visakha Steel Workers’ Union (VSWU) have emphasized the critical nature of the situation, appealing to the government for prompt action.

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