Strike hits coal production in SCCL

All mining operation came to a standstill in Singareni Collieries on Thursday. A view of an open cast coal mine at Yellandu of Bhadradri Kothagudem district.

All mining operation came to a standstill in Singareni Collieries on Thursday. A view of an open cast coal mine at Yellandu of Bhadradri Kothagudem district.   | Photo Credit: file photo

More than 83% coal workers abstain duties in protest against Centre’s privatisation move

Raising their voices in unison against the Centre’s move to open the coal sector to private players, coal workers of the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) struck work in all the 46 coal mines spanning across seven districts, virtually paralysing coal production on Thursday.

This was in response to the 72-hour strike called by the five central trade unions of the Coal India Limited (CIL) in protest against the move to auction the coal blocks for commercial mining.

Barring the essential staff, more than 83% of the SCCL’s 36,674 workers on rolls abstained from work in a total of 27 underground coal mines and 19 opencast projects (OCPs) spread in Bhadradri-Kothagudem, Khammam, Jayashankar Bhupalpally, Peddapalli, Mancherial and Kumram Bheem Asifabad districts.

The local unions affiliated to the five central unions — CITU, AITUC, INTUC, BMS and HMS besides the ruling TRS affiliated the Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS) — participated in the strike.

In a rare show of collective strength, workers owing allegiance to the central trade unions including the RSS-backed BMS staged demonstrations in front of the SCCL’s head office in Kothagudem.

Various departments, including the company’s head office, witnessed thin attendance as about 50 % of the total 9,347 staff turned up for duty.

The strike came at a time when the SCCL renewed its attempts to ramp up coal production after suffering disruptions on account of the coronavirus forced 50-day layoff of its 22 underground mines last month.

The SCCL, the only State-owned coal mining company in south India, has set an ambitious target of 67.5 million tonnes for 2020-2021.

The three-day strike is expected to hit coal production to the tune of about 3 lakh tonnes in the SCCL’s mines.

The output in all the 11 coal mining areas together stood at 18,260 tonnes in the first shift on Thursday. The Yellendu, Bhupalpalli, Ramagundam-I and Bellampalli areas recorded zero coal production.

Meanwhile, in a statement general secretary of the CITU affiliated Singareni Collieries Employees Union (SCEU) M. Narasimha Rao hit out at the Centre for “aggressively pursuing” privatization move to allow big private firms to exploit the precious mineral wealth of coal at the cost of the public sector coal companies and jeopardizing the interests of lakhs of coal workers across the country.

He demanded that the TRS affiliated TBGKS should reconsider its decision to confine itself to one-day strike instead of three-days.

It is imperative for all the trade unions to make the three-day strike a success to exert pressure on the Centre to drop its move to privatise coal blocks of the public sector coal companies, including the SCCL, he said.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 5:44:17 PM |

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