coal block

Power plants in South may face coal shortage as bandh hits Talcher

Sambalpur: Power plants in the southern states may face fuel shortage as coal mining operations in country’s largest Talcher Coalfields on Monday faced stoppage by contractors’ workers leading to about 2.6 lakh tonne coal dispatch loss.

Around 6,000 contractors’ worker in coal mining and transportation works went on a strike following the directions of local MLA, paralysing supplies to the consumers, which has a majority of power producers.

The strike was instigated after a meeting held on Sunday at Jagannath Area headquarters on 5-point agenda items given by Narahari Sahoo, General Secretary, Mahanadi Coalfields Contractual Transport Workers Union (MCCTWU), Talcher.

The meeting, which was attended by Director (Personnel) himself along with Area General Managers and other officials of Talcher Coalfields from Management side and the MLA, Talcher along with members of the MCCTWU, concluded on a happy note after the management agreed to all the points but one which was not legally feasible.

The management had not agreed on the demand of deployment of 131 contractors’ employees at (Railway) Sidings No. III & IV of Jagannath Area as the Siding operations are being carried out departmentally and there is no scope of reverting back to the contractual mode of operations.

This was discussed at the level of Chief Secretary in the past and MCL management had categorically expressed its inability to engage contractors’ workers as the siding was already operating departmentally.

However, the MCL management had agreed to the demands related to the welfare of contractors’ workers engaged in the company, like providing them medical treatment in company’s hospitals and dispensaries, skill development programmes run by Government of India, education for children of contractors’ workers in MCL-run DAV schools and enhanced rate of HPC (high power committee) wages to contractors’ workers.

The Record Note of Discussions (RND) of the meeting was immediately prepared and circulated after the same was agreed by the MLA. However, the MLA conveyed that RND of the meeting so drawn and circulated under the signatures of Area General Manager heading Talcher Coalfields was not acceptable, as it was not signed by the Director (Personnel) of the company himself.

On this ground, stoppage of all the contractual operation of mining/transportation of coal in all the Areas of Talcher Coalfields was resorted to.

The work stoppage resulted in coal production loss of 2.3 lakh tonne and despatch loss of 2.6 lakh tonne from Talcher Coalfields, which likely have a negative impact on coal consumers, particularly power plants in southern states, including Odisha.

Besides, a day-long work stoppage resulted in an estimated loss of revenue to the tune of Rs 20.6 crore to MCL, and consequently, Odisha exchequer will suffer a loss of Rs 14.67 crore while the Central exchequer will undergo a loss of rupees one crore.

The company also suffered a loss to the tune of 1.22 lakh cubic meters overburden removal, which has a negative impact on coal production in future.