MCL employees demand resumption of operations in Talcher coalfields

Bhubaneswar: Employees of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) on Monday sought resumption of operations in Talcher Coalfields where production and supply was stalled for the 13th day due to agitation by locals after a mishap at a mine killed four workers last month.

Four workers were killed and nine others injured in the mishap at Bharatpur mine in Odisha’s Angul district on July 23, triggering protests by political parties and locals.

Agitation by locals, initially backed by BJP and then by BJD leaders, has crippled production and supply of coal from Talcher since July 24.

Employees of MCL along with trade union leaders met Sub-Collector, Talcher, Paresh Nayak and submitted a representation on Monday seeking quick steps to restore normalcy in Talcher Coalfields and resumption of production in the remaining eight unaffected mines of the company.

Later, a tri-partite meeting with the Sub-Collector was held with the striking villagers and MCL’s general managers which ended inconclusive with the villagers sticking to their demand of a permanent job in MCL along with Rs one crore as compensation, an MCL Spokesperson said.

MCL has offered compensation as per the Employee Compensation Act besides a contractual job as governed by the high powered committee, he said.

The stalemate in Talcher Coalfields has not only affected the livelihood of around 40,000 people, but has also reduced share in District Mineral Fund (DMF) and CSR contribution for the villagers of Talcher, the spokesperson claimed.

The blockade has also resulted in closing of units of the power houses which were dependent on Talcher Coalfields for the supply of the dry fuel, the spokesperson claimed.

Meanwhile, the cumulative losses up to August 4 stands at 23.14 lakh tonne of coal, 26.64 lakh tonne of Despach, 22.56 lakh cubic metre of over burden removal, loss to the company stands at Rs 234.92 crore, loss to the Central and state exchequer at Rs 152.06 crore and a generation Loss of 3672.31 million units, he claimed.

Meanwhile, some remains of a security guard Ramesh Dash, who was killed in the mishap were recovered from the accident site at Bharatpur open cast project on the day.

His mutilated body parts had earlier been recovered from the debris on Saturday, an official said.