Hyderabad: Coal production in Telangana-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) came to a halt on Thursday as the employees began a three-day strike to oppose the Centre’s move to auction four coal blocks.
With an overwhelming majority of 42,000 workers participating in the strike, coal extraction was paralysed in all 23 underground and 19 open cast mines.
Employees struck the work and staged the protest at the mines, opposing the union coal ministry’s proposal to auction the coal blocks.
Major trade union Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS) affiliated to ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has called for the strike. Trade unions affiliated to the five central trade unions Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS).
The TBGKS has called for the 72-hour strike to press for a five-point charter of demands including the removal of four coal blocks of the SCCL from the coal ministry’s list of commercial coal mine auction.
The five trade unions also served strike notice on the management to press for a 12-point charter of demands.
The coal ministry proposes to auction Sattupally open cast Block-3 in Khammam district, Sravanpally open cast Block-3 in Asifabad district, Koya Gudem opencast Block-3 in Bhadradri Kothagudem, and Kalyanakhani underground Block-6 in Mancherial district.
The trade unions have threatened to launch an indefinite strike if the Centre goes ahead with the process of calling tenders for the auction.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop auctioning of four coal blocks of SCCL.
The chief minister pointed out that the Singareni Collieries Company is producing 65 million tonnes of coal every year and playing a key role in catering to the needs of thermal power plants in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
He said that after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the maximum demand for power in Telangana was 5,661 MW in 2014 and by March 2021, it went up to 13,688 MWs and it is essential to supply coal uninterruptedly for the generation of thermal power.