ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Coal : Deep in Trouble

Reforms in the coal sector seem once again to be heading nowhere. The bill to amend the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, which was to be tabled in the ongoing winter session of parliament, has been deferred on the recommendation of the group of ministers. If the move was aimed at heading off the planned three-day strike called by the unions of state-owned coal companies, it did not succeed. The non-INTUC trade unions struck work at the mines of Coal India (CIL) and its seven subsidiaries nationwide, causing widespread disruption of production and dispatch. In addition to registering their opposition to the bill, the strike was also in protest against the non-payment of arrears as per the sixth national coal wage agreement. The unions are now reportedly planning to launch an indefinite agitation to press their demands. Considering that Eastern Coalfields (EIL) and Central Coalfields (CCL), two of CIL’s three loss-making subsidiaries, are believed to have suffered an estimated daily loss of Rs 50 crore and Rs 90 crore respectively during the strike, the unions’ move will deliver another blow to the struggling coal behemoth.

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