Coal India to shut 37 mines

Unviability cited; unions fear impact on 10,000 workers

June 09, 2017 09:03 pm | Updated 09:15 pm IST - KOLKATA

‘Black out’: The Coal Ministry had noted that a substantial number of mines were not able to recover costs. AFP

‘Black out’: The Coal Ministry had noted that a substantial number of mines were not able to recover costs. AFP

Coal India Ltd. (CIL) is planning to close 37 mines in FY18, the PSU said, even as trade unions are getting together to oppose the move.

“An action plan has been prepared by subsidiaries in which 37 unviable underground mines have been envisaged to be closed in 2017-18,” CIL said in a regulatory filing. It said that the identified surplus manpower from these mines would be redeployed in nearby mines.

The Union Coal Ministry, in a review meeting with CIL and its subsidiaries, noted that a substantial number of mines have not been able to recover costs in the form of even salaries paid to the workers. It then directed CIL’s arms to conduct a detailed study of such mines and report on action taken.

CIL also said that its subsidiaries generally undertake an annual exercise to determine profit- and loss- making mines for comparative study of performance of these mines and also for taking decisions on new mines.

3-day strike

B.K. Rai, president of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Koyla Mazdoor Sangh said that the unions were opposed to this and talks have already been held in this regard among all the unions. Five central trade unions have served a three-day strike notice (beginning June 19) to protest a host of issues including commercial mining of coal.

He feared that more than 10,000 workers across all the coal-companies would be affected by the move. “We have come to know that this is part of a plan to shut down 155 mines of CIL”. CIL produced 554.1 million tons coal in 2016-17 from its 471 mines across 21 major coalfields. It has said that many of its 273 underground mines were unable to recover costs. Its profits dropped 35% in 2016-17.

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