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Coal production of MCL picks up after losing 24 MT to stoppages of mining operations

Bhubaneswar: Production and despatch of coal from Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) has started picking up gradually after a prolonged rainy season.

The company has geared up to reduce the estimated 24 million tonne coal production loss incurred due to sporadic stoppages and unavailability of land resources during the current financial year.

Loss of coal production due to intermittent stoppages is estimated at 6.07 million tonne while 18.04 million tonne production loss is estimated due to stoppage of mine progress (i.e. land constraint), said a company statement.

Besides, heavy rains had lashed coalfields for a longer duration as compared to previous years, making mining operations difficult and pushing MCL to a decreased output of 30 to 35% from coalfields during the rainy season.

In 2019, Talcher coalfields witnessed 1597 mm rainfall as compared to 1102 mm in 2018, whereas Ib Valley Coalfields witnessed 2194 mm rainfall this year as against 1320 mm last year due to excess and extended rains in months of August, September and October.

To meet the production target, the company has launched synergic efforts at the project level to maximize output and reduce shortfall from the production and despatch targets.

The coal production in MCL, which had plunged even below 1.5 lakh tonne a day due to stoppages in coalfields and inclement weather conditions, has regained momentum with the company registering dry fuel production of around four lakh tonne a day, the statement said.

However, efforts of coal miners to recover are being eclipsed due to continued dispute between Soloda and Danara villages in the periphery of Balram OCP under Hingula Area in Talcher coalfields, which has affected mining operations for the last 50 days.

More than a dozen meetings of local management, district administration, and villagers have taken place to thaw the stalemate occurred on October 6, 2019, but all in vain.

The mining operations at Balram OCP that resumed on November 18 stopped again after three days, with villagers agreeing to disagree on a pact arrived at a meeting with management and district authorities.

With an estimated loss of 20,000-tonne coal production and 30,000-tonne despatch daily due to stoppage, Balram OCP has suffered one million tonne coal production loss and 1.5 million tonne less supply of dry fuel to consumers, including NALCO, JITPL, JSPL, BSL and GMR.

MCL has witnessed strikes and bandhs, with Balram OCP and Kaniha OCP in Talcher registering record loss of working hours at 1521 hrs (63 days approx) and 1011 hrs (42 days approx.) respectively.

An hour of disturbance at a project affects the operations of the entire one shift, as momentum once gone takes its own time to recover.