Telangana coal mine workers on strike against Centre’s move to privatise
The Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS), affiliated to ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the state, also lent support to the strike, but announced that it would take part in the agitation only for one day.Updated: Jul 02, 2020 20:10 IST
Coal production in 18 open cast and 27 underground mines of Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) in northern Telangana came to a halt on Thursday with nearly 48,000-odd coal mine workers commencing their 72-hour strike in protest against the Centre’s decision to auction 41 coal blocks for commercial mining.
The strike was called by six coal mine workers’ unions affiliated to national unions: All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Hindustan Mazdoor Sangh (HMS), Confederation of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU).
The Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS), affiliated to ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the state, also lent support to the strike, but announced that it would take part in the agitation only for one day.
The coal mine workers belonging to the Singareni Collieries in four erstwhile combined districts of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam, along Godavari river belt, abstained from work and raised slogans against the Central government’s decision.
The police made elaborate security arrangements at all mines to ensure that the workers would not resort to violent agitations. However, the strike went off peacefully as the workers did not assemble in huge gatherings due to Covid-19 restrictions.
AITUC leader of Singareni Collieries Vasireddy Seetharamaiah told reporters at Kothagudem that the Centre was trying to weaken the coal industry by permitting discriminative outsourcing in the Coal India Limited and SCCL.
He also demanded increased wages for all contract workers and immediate payment of 50 per cent wages to employees as per National Coal Wage Agreement, which was deferred in March.
Former Nizamabad MP and former honorary president of TBGKS Kalvakuntla Kavitha demanded that the Centre roll back its decision to privatise coal mines.
“Today, across the Nation, thousands of coal mine workers are on strike demanding that the central government roll back the decision to auction coal blocks to private companies. We demand that this privatization move be rolled back,” she tweeted.
TBGKS general secretary Miriyal Raji Reddy said the workers were worried about their future as the public undertaking company might not face the competition from private companies.
“It will adversely impact Singareni coal mines in Telangana. How can it create an atmanirbhar Bharat?” he asked.