Trade union urges PM to do justice with contract workers

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Feb 2017 10:13:54

Business Bureau,

Thousands of contract coal workers in India including hundreds of such workers who were employed in EMTA open cast mine in Bhadravati, Chandrapur district are sitting idle since more than 22 months because of negligence on the part of Ministry of Coal. S Q Zama, President of Captive Koyla Mazdoor Sangh (INTUC) in a letter to Narendra Modi, Prime Minister requested his intervention in the matter.

The Supreme Court had allowed 42 coal mines under production or were ready for production to continue operations till March 31, 2015.
Ministry of Coal was under direction to allocate 42 Schedule-II Blocks under the provisions of the said Act/Rules through ‘Auction of Allotment’ to Government companies on or before March 31, 2015 so that the mines under production are handed over to prospective bidder or ‘Allottee’ in running condition, meaning thereby that the ownership will be transferred in running condition.

In anticipation of problems, the 5 CTUs i.e. INTUC, BMS, HMS, AITUC and CITU operating in coal industry including CIL/SCCL had included the captive block issue in joint notice dated December 17, 2014 to Secretary (Coal) for 5 days nation-wide strike from January 6 to January 10, 2015, which however, was called-off on second day of successful strike i.e. January 7, 2015 preceded by prolonged meeting with Coal Minister Piyush Goyal and signing of joint minutes in Hindi dated January 7, 2015.

From the minutes, it may kindly be observed that the Coal Minister had committed that every exercise will be done in transparent manner to ensure that no worker loses job and for his continuity in employment, suitable provisions will be made in the Ordinance/Bill/Act with guarantee that such running mines continue to in operation w.e.f. April 1, 2015. The Coal Minister also constituted a joint committee under chairmanship of Joint Secretary (Coal) to take review of issues as contained in the strike notice including fate of running 42 coal mines.
Ministry of Coal claims to have completed successfully allocation of running coal blocks but barring few exceptions, most of the Schedule-II Coal Mines are kept idle by prospective buyers / Government allottees, different states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, having large number of captive mines in Raigad district in Maharashtra etc. The fate of remaining coal blocks are still in doldrums and thousands of such workers are absolutely idle, unpaid, unprotected w.e.f. April 1, 2015 (22 months).

From time to time this matter was taken up with all concerned authorities including the joint committee headed by Joint Secretary. The 4th meeting was last held on 27.04.2016 at New Delhi. However, the joint committee proved ineffective to deal with timely operationalisation of coal blocks under Schedule-II out of which bulk of them have already been allotted to prospective bidder or Government allottees.

S Q Zama as a President of Captive Koyla Mazdoor Sangh and also in capacity as Secretary General of Indian National Mineworkers’ Federation and member of Joint Committee is persistently striving to get operationalised the ’Integrated Baranj Open Cast Mine (IBOCM),’ near Bhadravati, district Chandrapur (Maharashtra State) owned by Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) and the mine being run by Karnataka EMTA Coal Mines Limited a JVC. The said “Coal Block” has been re-allotted to the same owner KPCL as Government company before March 31, 2015.
It is really sorry state of affairs that the said mine is still idle even after 22 months of re-allotment to same owner and more than 500 workers including large number of PAPs are still facing the worst condition.

Zama has demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter and do justice, informs a press release by Pradeep Kokas, PRO.