Special Correspondent

Regarding its performance and labour relations

NEYVELI: The Labour Progressive Front (LPF), major and sole recognised trade union, has appealed to the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) to come out with a public statement regarding its performance and labour relations so as to silence its critics.

The LPF has circulated handbills among thousands of NLC employees stating that of late the Corporation has become a butt of criticism from various quarters.

Many questions have been raised about the way the corporation is being run, and the labour issues are handled. The projects for the expansion of Mine-II and Thermal Station II are dogged with problems, as the land acquisition process is caught in a legal tangle.

President of the LPF G.Dhandapani told The Hindu that from 2002-03 to 2004-05, the profits of the crporation were hovering above Rs.1,000 crore mark.

However, in 2005-06 the profits came down to Rs.702 crore, compared to previous year's Rs 1,215 crore. The LPF leader acknowledged the fact that the power tariff reduction by the Southern Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority also had its impact on NLC profits.

A section of the engineers felt that had better management practices prevailed, the profits would have been on the higher side and land acquisition would have been made easier.

The NLC management's hands-off attitude towards the ongoing strike of contract labourers had put the LPF on the dock, because as the sole arbitrator of the labour issues it had a lot of explaining to do on this.

On matters of such importance, the LPF would have to consult its leaders, particularly the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam that happens to be the ruling party in Tamil Nadu and also a constituent of the Union Cabinet. Therefore, it could not take any hasty decision.

Mr. Dhandapani further said with the pay revision falling due on January 1, the LPF was wondering how the NLC would cope with the situation particularly when it was faced with lower revenues and commitment to take up new projects elsewhere in the country.

Power generation down

Meanwhile, owing to intermittent rain, the lignite extraction has suffered, thereby bringing down power generation to 1,250 MW as against the full capacity of 2,490 MW.