Services in NLC general hospital the worst hit

The ongoing indefinite strike by the Neyveli Lignite Corporation employees against the Central government’s move to divest 5 per cent of NLC shares has hit essential services in the Neyveli Township.

The unions have abruptly recalled the workforce from the ground water control division, fuse call office and the NLC general hospital. The immediate fall-out is shortage in water supply to the households, the Neyveli Guest House, dozens of marriage halls and other common facilities in the township.

Even the Neyveli Book Fair, now under way on the NLC premises, has to bear the brunt as the supportive staff deployed for the event joined the strike.

Asked as to why the trade unions have hardened their stand, S. Rajavanniyan, general secretary of the LPF, said: “Lack of response from the Centre to our demand for giving up the disinvestment move and the indifference of the executives and engineers to the strike have prompted them to take such tough decisions.”

The ground water service division is a vital component in the mining operation as the workers have to constantly pump out the water from the mines. If the stagnating water is not removed, the mine will turn into slurry, making it difficult to mobilise men and machinery.

The township residents are now managing with the water already stored in overhead tanks. The health care services in the NLC general hospital is the worst hit. As many as 150 laskars and attendants engaged in the hospital have abstained from works.

On a daily basis a whopping number of 10,000 people throng the outpatient ward. The 365-bed hospital has an occupancy rate of 40 per cent at any point of time.

A top official of the hospital on condition of anonymity said a panel of specialists had been formed to handle the outpatients. Only those patients who required constant medical attention were admitted as inpatients and others treated as outpatients.” However, the trade unions have spared the workers in the intensive care unit, children ward, maternity ward and dialysis ward.

NLC Chairman-cum-Managing Director B. Surender Mohan told The Hindu that “the day-to-day functioning of the mines and the thermal power stations is being managed by the executives and the engineers. Electricity generation on Wednesday stood at 2,300 MW (against the installed capacity of 2,490 MW).”

In the absence of the workforce the officials themselves would have to take care of the essential services in the township. As for the book fair, the Chairman said, “The event is being organised for the benefit of the NLC employees as well as the students and the people from the neighbouring districts. With the help of volunteers, it would be run and if it faces any hurdle a review would be made.”

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