NLC strike enters 3rd day

An indefinite strike by Neyveli Lignite workers against a government plan to sell a stake in the state-owned company entered its third day on Friday, leading to a drop in lignite production and electricity generation.

The trade unions also decided to move the Madras High Court against its interim stay order restraining the workers from going on strike.

The company produces 2.36 million tonnes of lignite from its mines per month. Its thermal power stations have a capacity of 2,490 MW, of which Tamil Nadu gets 1,110 MW followed by Karnataka (277), Kerala (215) and Puducherry (95).

“We are producing 50,000 tonnes of lignite per day as against normal production of 80,000 tonnes per day,” a company source said. “With regard to power generation, Neyveli Lignite (NLC) is generating around 2,300 MW against its full capacity of 2,490 MW.”


Defying a Madras High Court order, about 30,000 NLC workers, including 13,000 contractual employees, struck work at 9 PM on Wednesday, protesting the Centre’s decision to disinvest a five per cent stake in the PSU.

The court, in an interim order on a petition filed by the NLC management, had restrained the unions of the company from going on strike.

Rama Udhyakumar, leader of the 17 trade unions, said a petition against the interim order would be filed on Monday.

The decision was taken at a joint action committee meeting of the unions on Friday, he said.

The strike will continue until the Centre gives up its decision to sell stake in the PSU, S Rajavanniyan, general secretary of the DMK-affiliated Labour Progressive Front, had said earlier.

About 7,000 engineers and officers of NLC are not participating in the strike.
NLC exceeded its production target during the first quarter of the current fiscal, according to a stock exchange filing on Friday. Lignite output was 6.63 million tonnes compared with the target of 6.56 million tonnes.

Power generation during the first quarter stood at 5,377.51 million units as against the planned 4,850 million units, it said.

The Centre’s disinvestment decision is opposed by major political parties in the state, including AIADMK and DMK. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had suggested that the shares of NLC be offered to state public sector undertakings.

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