'People's strike' in Telangana hits coal production

'People's strike' in Telangana hits coal production

Work in 50 mines spread over Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam districts in Telangana region came to a standstill as the employees began the indefinite strike Tuesday morning on the call of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC).

The employees did not turn up for duty from 7 a.m. as all their 14 unions were supporting the strike call. On a normal day, the company produces about 120,000 tonnes of coal in 36 underground and 14 opencast mines, said a company official.
Singareni employees began a 'rasta roko' movement by forming human chains.

They were also participating in various sports and cultural competitions near the mines to show their solidarity with 'Sakala Janula Samme' or  'people's strike'.
If it continues, the strike is likely to affect nearly 10 thermal power stations in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. With an installed capacity of 7,000 MW, these stations depend on Singareni coal for their operations.

The strike by 400,000 government employees in Telangana from Tuesday is also likely to bring the administration to a halt and affect the delivery of public services in the region.
The JAC has decided to go ahead with the strike despite Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy threatening to act tough.

The government Monday made it clear that it would not hesitate to  invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to ban strikes, implement a 'no work, no pay' order and initiate disciplinary action against the strikers.

Government teachers, employees of state-owned Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation and other public sector undertakings also plan to join the strike from Sep 16.

At a massive public meeting in Karimnagar Monday night, leaders of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and JAC warned the government against using ESMA.

"Telangana will burn if the government dares to use ESMA against any employee, teacher or worker," said TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, said the agitation would not stop till the central government fulfills its Dec 9, 2009 promise to carve out Telangana state.