Strike by Coal India officials to make 4 million tonne dent in production

The 3-day strike by officials of Coal India Ltd (CIL) from 13 March will result in an estimated 4 million tonne shortfall in production and dispatches of coal at a time when production at the state-run miner is over 17 million tonnes below target.

The strike is imminent after talks with the management failed and only the government can prevent the strike by issuing permission for the pending benefits for officers, it said.

"There is no concrete plan to pay our dues by the management. We will go on with the strike," Coal Mines Officers' Association of India president V P Singh said after meeting the CIL management. Representatives of the association had met the deputy labour commissioner yesterday, but with no effect.

The strike will further dent coal production, which is way below target, the association said, adding that it is up to the government to prevent the strike by issuing permission for the pending benefits for officers.

"The production is peak in March. Each day, the production is 1.2 to 1.3 million tonnes and with the strike, it is likely to get badly affected," Singh said.

The strike has been called to press for performance-linked pay and new pension scheme implementation, which requires the Coal Ministry's approval, Singh said. The average annual impact on Coal India is around Rs200 crore for not implementing the wage pact of 2007 in totality, he said, adding the total impact on Coal India would be to the tune of Rs800 crore annually.

The CIL chairman had said a few days ago that there might be production and dispatch shortfall of 10 million tonnes from the miner's annual targets of 482 million and 492 million tonnes, respectively set for the current financial year.

Meanwhile the proposed board meeting of CIL on 13 March, which is expected to clear the policy of PPP model for coal mining, has been cancelled.

Key power stations like Badarpur (New Delhi), Unchahar (Uttar Pradesh), Simhadri (Andhra Pradesh) may also face problems though they have stock piles to last a few days, CIL sources pointed out.