Coal production in 50 mines of the State-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL), spread over Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, and Khammam districts, fell by 20,000 tonnes with miners and employees owing allegiance to CPI-affiliated recognised union launching an indefinite strike on Monday over a charter of 47 demands.

The recognised union, Singareni Collieries Workers' Union, claimed the strike as “total and successful” whereas SCCL CMD S. Narsing Rao described it as partial. Four other major unions linked to INTUC, HMS, BMS, and Telangana Bogguganula Karmika Sangham (TRS), however, stayed away from the strike.

The main demand of the staff was that four promotions should be given to each employee during the service period, which normally ranged up to 30 years in SCCL. The strike was devoid of any major incident even as police was deployed at the main-gates of the mines and offices in the four districts and at Kothagudem where SCCL head office is located. Reports said the mining at Kothagudem, Mandamarri, Ramakrishnapuram, Yellandu, and Bhoopalapalli came to a near halt.

Mr. Narsing Rao told The Hindu that the normal coal production, which was 1.20 lakh tonnes a day, came down to one lakh tonnes on the first day. If the strike continued, nearly 10 thermal power stations in AP, Karnataka, and Maharashtra which had Singareni coal linkage, accounting for a combined installed capacity of 7,000 MW, would suffer. The present stocks would last only for a few more days. The Regional Labour Commissioner (Central), convened talks between the SCWU and the management but they were inconclusive. They would be continued on Tuesday. Mr. Narsing Rao said the Joint Tripartite Consultative Committee on Coal Industry in the Coal Ministry which was the competent body to take any decision was seized of the promotions issue and there was no reason for the union to go on strike.

Khammam Staff Reporter adds: The strike evoked overwhelming response as it was taken up to protect the interests of the workforce,” said AITUC deputy general secretary D. Seshaiah.

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