Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 6:
Trade Unions all over India began their five day strike today against disinvestment of Coal India Limited (CIL), affecting production in all CIL companies including Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) in Odisha.
This strike is likely to affect production of up to 1.5 million tonnes of coal a day across all fields and severely affect raw material supply to power plants, industry sources said.
The Government of Odisha, however, does not appear to be overly worried about the ongoing strike. An official of the state Energy department said, “The power plants operating in the state have already stocked adequate coal for generation of power for about 15 days. There would be no problem of power shortage.”
Bulk power supplier Gridco and thermal power behemoth NTPC too have maintained that power generation would not be affected since the pwoer producers have already stocked enough coal to tide over the temporary suspension of supply.
Four central trade unions – Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdur Sabha (HMS) and Bhartiya Mazdur Sangh (BMS) – had given notice to go on strike from today in the coal sector i.e. Coal India and its subsidiary companies such as WCL, MCL, BCCL, NCL, ECL, SECL,CCL, CMPDI and Singreni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) earlier.
Shankar Prasad Behera, General Secretary of HMS said, “Labourers and employees have gone on the strike on their own will and have completely shut down the operations in Talcher. We are protesting against the unfair rules of the government.”
Soubhagya Pradhan, General Secretary of INTUC said, “We are protesting against privatisation and disinvestment of MCL and other CIL companies. The government rules are going to favour the capitalists not the general public.”
Newly appointed Coal India Chairman Sutirtha Bhattacharya, who took charge only yesterday, appealed to the unions to call of the strike today. The trade unions also met Piyush Goyal, the Minister of State for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy in the Government of India to discuss a way out of the impasse.