Coal India trade unions begin three-day strike over commercial mining

Protesting against the government’s decision to allow commercial coal mining, Coal India trade unions started their three-day strike beginning on Thursday, a move that may hit around four million tonnes of production.

The unions on Thursday went on strike from the first shift which begins at 0600 HRS, Nathulal Pandey, president of HMS-affiliated Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation said.

On an average Coal India produces 1.3 million tonnes (MT) of coal every day, so it is estimated that the production loss due to the three-days strike would be around 4 MT, Mr. Pandey said.

The move comes at a time when the government has set an ambitious one billion tonnes of coal output for Coal India (CIL) which accounts for over 80# of domestic coal output.

Mr. Pandey said, in the Jhanjra area of Eastern Coalfields, five persons — one CITU member, one INTUC and three HMS — who were on strike have been arrested.

Further, workers employed in the BCCL, a Coal India arm, have not gone to work and as a result emergency services such has hospitals in the mines have been paralysed, Mr. Pandey said.

Besides, the general manager of the Sohagpur area of SECL, a Coal India arm, has called outsiders to work in the mine which is an “extraordinary situation” and this has never happened to Coal India.

On Wednesday, talks between Coal India trade unions and the government over the issue of commercial coal mining failed. A virtual meeting was held between Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi and representatives of trade unions on Wednesday.

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