Unions oppose land acquisition

The unions of public sector units are opposed to entrusting land belonging to AP Steel Factory to private agencies for developing it. The land is located in Paloncha town and several private companies vied for it. It is valued at over Rs 100 crore. The workers union of Sponge Iron India Limited has been demanding that the government allocate the land for the expansion of Sponge Iron India Limited. Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation acquired the land in survey numbers 442, 443, 444 in Paloncha to set up a steel factory when Jalagam Vengala Rao was the chief minister. SIIL Officers Union leader K. Gopi Krishna said that the Central government is making efforts to merge the SIIL with National Mineral Development Corporation. He said additional land would be needed for the expansion of SIIL after merging it with NMDC. "Thousands of jobs would be created with the expansion,' he said. SIIL has sent proposals for setting up another sponge iron unit with a capacity of two lakh tonnes at a cost of Rs 320 crore, a captive power plant with a capacity of 45mw, induction furnace and casting machine to the government for ratification. SIIL was incurring losses till 2002 and has been earning profits for the last four years. Because of the development, NMDC planned to merge it and expand it. The increasing demand for sponge iron is also one of the reasons for the expansion of SIIL. SIIL Supervisors Association president D. Chennamallu said, "The workers wanted to shape Paloncha into a steel town by expanding SIIL.' He said the unions would oppose any gesture of handing over the land to real estate companies. Indian National Trade Union Congress leader Shaik Jaleel said the unions decided to submit a memorandum on the issue to the Chief Minister soon in Hyderabad. "The SIIL would get a boost if the land is given for expansion,' he said.

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