Coal miners’ strike hits production in Telangana’s Singareni

Hyderabad, July 2 (IANS) Coal production in Telangana's Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) came to a halt on Thursday as miners began a three-day strike called by various unions to protest against the Centre's decision to privatise the mines.

Nearly 50,000 employees struck the work in all the mines spread across six districts of Telangana.

While the national trade unions have called for a three-day strike from Thursday, the Telangana Boggu Ghani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS), the biggest and recognised union in Singareni, supported the strike for only one day.

The production in all underground mines in Bhadradri Kothagudem district came to a halt while operations in open cast mines were also affected.

Production was also hit in almost all the mines in Ramagundam, Bhupalapally, Mancherial and other areas.

The strike might result in production loss of nearly two lakh tonnes. The company is estimated to suffer a loss of over Rs 50 crore.

Employees' unions, SCW (AITUC), SCMLU (INTUC), SCE&W (HMS), SCE Union (CITU), SCMKS (BMS) and GLBKS Union (IFTU) joined the strike.

The unions demanded that the government immediately withdraw its decision to permit commercial mining in the Coal India Ltd (CIL) and SCCL blocks.

The Centre has put up for auction 41 coal blocks belonged to the CIL. The unions now fear that the government may auction the coal blocks of SCCL too in the future.

They have demanded the management stop weakening the coal industry by permitting discriminative outsourcing in the CIL and SCCL. They sought the withdrawal of proposals for e-auction of 50 coal blocks, bid to delink Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL) from the CIL, and the proposed amendments to labour laws.

The day-long protest by the TBGKS affiliated to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was held across the state, with workers demanding the Union government roll-back its decision.

TBGKS honorary President and former MP Kalvakuntla Kavitha demanded the Central government to roll back its decision to of privatise coal mines.

“Today across the nation, thousands of coal mine workers are on strike demanding the Central government to roll back the decision to auction coal blocks to private companies. The TRS party-affiliated TBGKS is also on strike today. We demand that this privatisation move be rolled back,” tweeted Kavitha, who is daughter of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao.

The main fear among workers with regard to the privatisation of coal mines is about their future and as to how private companies will function, as against a public undertaking.

The privatisation move, according to TBGKS leaders, will also adversely impact Singareni coal mines in Telangana, which is a government-run public undertaking.

Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they wondered how this move is “an act of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat”.

SCCL is the largest public sector company in Telangana. It is owned by the state government and the Centre on a 51:49 equity basis.

It registered a record production of 64.41 million tonnes in 2018-19. The company earned a net profit of Rs 1,765 crore.



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