Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, May 27:
Hundreds of workers from different trade unions today staged a demonstration at the Lower PMG square here demanding reopening of all 26 mines that have been closed following the interim order of the Supreme Court recently.
Trade unions, including CITU, AITUC, AICCTU, BMS, INTUC and HMS, led by CPM legislator from Banai Laxman Munda and state general secretary Janardhan Pati demanded reopening of the closed mines located in Koida and Barbil sectors in Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts citing that people engaged in the mines are finding it extremely difficult to ends meet.
“Nearly one lakh people are depending on the operation of mines for their livelihood. They have been rendered jobless after the closing down of the mines. The state government must initiate steps for reopening of the closed mines to restore the livelihood for thousands of labourer,s who have been rendered unemployed after the mines were closed following Supreme Court order,” said Pati.
“It doesn’t mean that we are demanding operation of mines violating the rules and regulation,” he clarified.
“Thousands of contract workers have been engaged in mines. They have no alternate source of income. Hence, we demand early restoration of production in the closed mines, payment of wages to the workers during the period of closure and peripheral development by mines owners,” said Bonail MLA Laxman Munda.
It should be noted that following the interim order of the apex court, the high-level committee constituted by the State government to look into pending cases of mines lease renewal has recommended renewal of mining leases in thirteen cases after fulfillment of certain conditions.