The three-day nationwide strike by coal workers against the government's decision to open the sector for private players led to almost nil production in most of the mines, and dispatch of the fuel was totally blocked, a trade union leader said on Saturday.
Five trade unions, including RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), of Coal India (CIL) have been on strike since Thursday to protest against the government's decision to start commercial coal mining.
"The three-day strike in coal industry is big success...In most of the mines (in all the three days), production was nil and the dispatch was totally blocked," Nathulal Pandey, president of HMS-affiliated Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation, said.
However, a Coal India official has said that coal production was 4.81 lakh tonne on Thursday, which is close to 38 percent of the normal 13 lakh tonne per day, calculated as average of 10 days immediately prior to stoppage of the operations.
CIL despatched 5.78 lakh tonnes on the first day of strike. This is around 42 percent of the normal off-take of 14 LTs/day, as per referred calculation. A coal ministry official said that on Friday CIL produced 5.55 lakh tonnes of coal Friday, which is 42.7 percent of the 10 days average production (from June 22 to July 1) of 12.969 lakh tonne.
On the second day of strike CIL dispatched 4.52 lakh tonne of coal, which is 32.17 percent of the 10 days average production (from June 22 to July 1) of 14.0504 lakh tonne, as per the ministry official.
According to analysts, hit in the coal production due to the three-day strike is not likely to impact the power industry and electricity generation as the power houses have sufficient stock of dry fuel.
A meeting of Central Trade Unions -- HMS, HMS, AITUC, INTUC and CITU -- was held on Saturday, Pandey said. "During the meeting it was decided unanimously that programmes like gate meeting etc jointly against the commercial mining will start from tomorrow itself. In the meantime the bidders will be requested not to participate in the bidding process," he said.
If the auction for the commercial coal mining is not cancelled by the government, one-day strike will be called on August 18, he said. S Q Zama, secretary general of the Indian National Mineworkers' Federation, affiliated to INTUC said that during the three-day strike between 75-80 percent of coal output did not happen.
On an average CIL produces 1.5-2 million tonnes of coal in day, he said.
"The three-day strike has been 100 percent peaceful, which in itself is a success," Pandey said.
Stating the protest has been self-oriented, he said coal mines across the country, which were closed on Friday are not functioning on Saturday as well.
"The law and order situation is normal," he added.
The participation of workers in the strike on the third day of stir was around 80 percent, he said. Tapan Sen, general secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), said that in comparison to the previous two days, more workers joined the strike on Saturday.
"All trade unions are against commercial mining by private players. We are determined to resist that in the days to come," Sen said. CIL CMD Pramod Agrawal on Thursday had appealed to the striking workmen to resume their duties.
"Considering the COVID situation in the country and the international scenario, Coal India's role assumes all the more importance and I earnestly appeal to you to resume your duties in the larger interest of the nation," he said in a statement.
Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi too had on Thursday urged Coal India workers to end their strike and resume work.