Strike did not affect mining activities in Jharkhand, say Officials; unions dismiss claim

(Eds: Adding details Ranchi/Dhanbad/Hazaribagh, Jan 8 (PTI) The coal companies claimed that the general strike did not have any impact on mining or transport work in Jharkhand on Wednesday while the leaders of the trade unions claimed work in mining areas was 'impacted' due to the stir.

Vehicular traffic in cities and towns across the state was normal and shops were open, police said.

The Director (Personnel) of the Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), R S Mahapatra, said that there was no impact of the strike called by the trade unions as the public sector company registered normal attendance of miners and posted normal production in all the shifts.

'I would not comment on success or failure of the strike in BCCL. But I congratulate the workers for joining duty and cooperating in achieving target production and dispatch of coal during the day,' Mahapatra told reporters in Dhanbad.

He said total production and dispatch record could be made public after getting papers of all the mines.

A senior official in the Central Coalfields Limited in Ranchi also claimed that the strike did not have an impact in its 41 opencast and underground coal mines with only 732 of the total of 8,293 miners remaining absent.

'The transport and production has been normal,' another CCL official said.

The Executive Director of the NTPCs Pakri Barwadih, Keredari and Chatti Bariatu area in Hazaribag district, Prashant Kashyap, said there was no coal production in the mines as the NTPC authorities suspended coal production and operation of mobile equipment as a precautionary measure to prevent any damage to the equipment.

He, however, said loading and dispatching of coal to various destinations of the country by rail is functioning normally and no untoward incident was reported.

According to Hazaribag Superintendent of Police Mayur Patel the strike disrupted movement of transport on NH-33 and NH-100, passing through the district as strikers blocked roads at several points in the morning.

He, however, said that the movement of trains in the district was normal and no untoward incident was reported from any part of the district nor any arrests were made.

Work at all public sector banks, insurance companies, including LIC and post offices, in Hazariabag, was affected, according to sources in the respective public sectors.

The convener of the Joint Front A K Jha, claimed production and dispatch work of coal was affected in Jharkhand-based Mugma, Chitra and Rajmahal colliery of the ECL.

'The strike totally affected area one and two of the BCCL out of 12 areas. In other collieries Area production and dispatch of coal fell down to 60 per cent to 70 per cent,' Jha said in Dhanbad.

The strike has been called by trade unions INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC, along with various sectoral independent federations and associations.

Their demands include a minimum pension of Rs 6,000 for everyone, minimum support price (MSP) for farmers and adequate supply of ration to people. PTI COR PVR RG RG