The agitation of the employees of the public sector Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) here against the proposed 100 per cent strategic sale of equity has intensified, after an employee of the corporation reportedly ended his life in Vizianagaram district on Monday evening in protest against the move.

A day after the reported suicide by N. Venkatesh (29) working in the HRD department, the employees including officers went on a mass casual leave on Tuesday to press for the demand to revoke decision on privatisation of the DCI.

The body of Venkatesh was found near the railway track near Nellimarla in Vizianagaram district late on Monday evening, and he reportedly left a suicide note stating that he had taken the extreme step in protest against the move of the Union Government. Venkatesh had joined the DCI in 2012.

The employees served an ultimatum to the Government that unless the move was shelved, they would go ahead with the indefinite strike plan and intensify the agitation. The union has already served a strike notice on the management.

Employees in large numbers from the city went to Vizianagaram to take part in the last rites of N. Venkatesh. A meeting of all PSU unions was convened by the CITU here on Tuesday resolved to stage demonstrations in front of all industrial establishments on Wednesday.

The employees paid floral tributes to the photograph of Venkatesh at the DCI corporate office and at a protest camp at Three Horse Junction, where their relay hunger strike entered the eight day on Tuesday.

Usha Rani, joint manager (law), DCI, said the DCI was "a profit-making company ever since it was set up in 1976. Privatisation of DCI will be a national loss, as we undertake dredging works with a low margin. The move should be revoked."

P.K. Sethi, Joint General Manager, said, “The DCI is the pride of Andhra Pradesh as its corporate office was set up here instead of Mumbai. The Government wants to sell it for just Rs 1,500 crore, undervaluing its assets which are actually worth Rs.5,000 crore to Rs.6,000 crore.”

He added that the DCI was among the top 10 dredging companies in the world.

The unions are demanding compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the family of Venkatesh and a job to one of the family members in the DCI.