Coal India union to launch protest, production may be hit

Kolkata, Feb 23 (IANS) Protesting against the Coal Ministry’s decision to exclude its representatives from any committee of Coal India and its subsidiaries, the Intuc-affiliated union is planning to launch fresh agitation from March, which could hit production in the last month of the current fiscal.

“We have planned to launch agitation, including blockade despatch of coal and production process, from March 1, unless the Coal Ministry withdraws its decision,” Intuc-affiliated Indian National Mineworkers’ Federation’s Secretary General S.Q. Zama told IANS on Thursday.

In a letter addressed to Coal Secretary Sushil Kumar, the union said: “Neither Ministry of Coal nor Coal India acknowledged our letters through which we questioned the decision to bar union representatives from all committees.”

According to Coal India sources, the move to exclude the representatives of Indian National Trade Union Congress (Intuc) came after a Delhi High Court order.

The letter addressed to Coal India officials from the Ministry of Coal, said: “On the basis of interim order given by Delhi High Court on September 16…it is obligatory that representatives of INTUC are not included in any committee in CIL (Coal India Ltd) and its subsidiaries till further order of Delhi High Court.”

“How did it become obligatory that representatives of Intuc are not included in statutory/non-statutory/bipartite/tripartite committees of Coal India and its subsidiaries and even not in the Joint Bipartite Committee for Coal Industry (JBCCI) constituted for the revision of wages,” asked Zama.

However, any disruption in the March production due to agitation could put the miner on the risk of missing the production target for the entire fiscal.

During the current fiscal (2016-17), the coal production target has been pegged at 598.61 million tonnes (mt) and coal production is expected to be 660.7 mt in 2017-18.

According to provisional data, the miner’s production during the April-January period in the current fiscal stood at 433.76 million tonnes (mt), up by a meagre 1.7 per cent from the same period of last financial year.

The miner, during the April-January period, achieved 91 per cent of the target which was set at 478.57 mt for the period.