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Vizag Steel is the story of Andhra Pradesh

Today, the steel plant is threatened with privatisation. It’s not the first time the national government has ruled against the interests of AP

Vizag Steel is the story of Andhra Pradesh

Today, the steel plant is threatened with privatisation. It’s not the first time the national government has ruled against the interests of AP

Vizag Steel is the story of Andhra Pradesh

Today, the steel plant is threatened with privatisation. It’s not the first time the national government has ruled against the interests of AP

Vizag Steel is the story of Andhra Pradesh

Today, the steel plant is threatened with privatisation. It’s not the first time the national government has ruled against the interests of AP

The history of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, or Vizag Steel, encapsulates the chaotic development of Andhra Pradesh.

In 1963, less than a decade after Andhra Pradesh came into being, the decision was made to construct a major steel plant in the state. It would be India’s first shore-based steel plant, and a great symbol of progress for the nation.

Yet the steel plant took years to materialise. The decision-making process took place behind closed doors, and involved complex and often fruitless negotiations with the national government. In the end, after years of delay, a local politician went on a fast in protest, bringing the matter to public attention, and thousands of protestors took to the streets to call for action. The protests culminated in bloodshed, when the police opened fire on the crowd.

As a result, the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, finally granted permission for construction to go ahead.

But why did it take so long? Why did the government repeatedly backtrack on agreements? And why did people have to give their lives for it to happen?

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