Police on Saturday lathicharged around 1,000 striking contract workers of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) when violence broke out during a road roko on the outskirts of Neyveli.

Police said Neyveli DSP P Mani ordered the lathicharge after a section of the workers, on an indefinite strike since September 19, demanding higher pay, among other issues, pelted stones at NLC buses, damaging four of them. About 300 workers had been arrested, police said.

Over 13,000 contract workers of the public sector lignite major have been on strike to press their 10 point charter of demands, including permanent employment, service regularisation, bonus and equal pay for equal work.

As the strike entered the 21st day on Saturday, the power generation at the NLC owned three thermal stations stood at 1,750 MW against their total capacity of 2,490 MW.

Deputy Chief Engineer L Subramani told PTI that lignite production was 30,000 tonnes against the target of 60,000 tonnes per day due to the strike and technical problems.

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