In yet another aspect of the coal controversy that’s still unfolding, over four lakh workers of the Coal India Limited (CIL), a public sector unit, lost their jobs after blocks were taken away from CIL’s kitty and given to private parties.
“In 2000, CIL had 8 lakh skilled workers, but in August 2012, they had just 3.65 lakh. With fewer blocks left for CIL, the need for employees has come down, leading to a company policy of terminations and voluntary retirement schemes for skilled personnel,” said Hanspal Ahir, BJP MP and whistle-blower in the coal block allotment issue.
The matter was amply brought out through the CAG’s observations on the allotment of the Rajhara north coal block in Jharkhand, where 400 skilled CIL employees were declared redundant after the government de-reserved the coal block meant for CIL and handed it over to Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd, a company owned by Vijay Joshi, an accused in a Rs. 4,000-crore Koda scam.
In January 2008, CIL had requested the coal ministry to not de-reserve the Rajhara North coal block. However, on November 20, 2008, it was given to Vini. Koda had set up about 18 firms, of which Vini was one.