Work in Talcher Coalfields paralysed for 7th day

Trucks move in the Mahanadi coal fields, near Talcher town in the eastern state of Odisha, India. (Reuters)

Coal production and supply was crippled at Talcher Coalfields of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) in Odisha's Angul district for the seventh day on Tuesday due to agitation by activists of a political party after a mishap at mine last week, officials said.

Talcher coalfields on an average produce 2.1 lakh tonne of coal per day. Production came to a grinding halt from July 24 evening following the accident at Bharatpur Open Cast Project (OCP) in which four workers were killed and nine injured, an MCL Spokesperson said.

While the total loss of production and despatch of coal due to work stoppage is estimated over 12 lakh tonne, the quantum loss to the company till today (Tuesday) has been estimated at Rs 128.32 crore and total loss to the state and Central exchequer is estimated to be around Rs 83.06 crore, the spokesperson claimed.

Four workers were killed and nine others injured in the mishap at Bharatpur mine on July 23 night, triggering protest by political parties and others. BJP activists launched an agitation demanding a compensation of Rs 50 lakh for families of each deceased.

The agitation stalled coal production in all mines of Talcher Coalfields, said an official.

Due to forced closure of mines, the company has not been able to produce or dispatch coal and no overburden has been removed during these days, the MCL spokesperson said.

This stoppage of work in Talcher coalfields has resulted in huge power generation loss, he claimed.

MCL, a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd, is diverting two rakes of coal from Ib Valley Coalfields to NTPC, Kaniha, efforts have also been made to divert one rake coal from Basundhara Area under Ib Valley Coalfields to NALCO, for which the aluminum company has been requested to arrange rake from the railways, he said.

The MCL has already announced a financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to the family of the deceased, along with gratuity, provident fund, full compensation as per the Employees Compensation Act and benefits under the Coal Mines Pension Scheme, the spokesperson said.

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