Will 1,000 rupees pension solve the problems of retired coal workers?

By Shri Aala Vandar Venu Madhav, Deputy General Secretary, Singareni Retired Employees Welfare Association Hyderabad

According to the Coal Mines Pension Scheme -1998, a minimum pension of Rs.350 has been fixed for nearly six lakh coal pensioners across the country. As a result of the agitations of the National Trade Unions and Coal Retired Employees’ Welfare Associations in the last twenty-four years, the Coal Mines Provident Fund Organization has proposed a minimum pension of Rs.1,000 which the Central Government has approved.

Can Rs 1,000 meet the basic needs of pensioners in today’s time? Those who work in the coal mines have to work in the most difficult conditions. Due to the lack of heat, light and air in the mines, many people suffer from chronic diseases. After retirement, they are more bedridden due to heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney disease.
Coal miners are the light of the country. but they get less pension than government servants. The reason they get less pension than government employees is because the government does not recognize their services. The coal workers are seen by the employers as if they are looking at the machines. They are not paying any attention to the workers who are out of work. A thousand rupees will not end their sufferings.

Since the last 24 years, they have requested the central government ministers and officials to pay a minimum pension of 10,000 rupees with drought allowance. There is a shortage in the pension fund, the number of pensioners is increasing day by day, and the number of new recruitments in the coal industry is decreasing. Due to the Diwan housing finance company’s fraud of 727 crore rupees, the pension fund has also decreased. The previously decided deposit of 10 rupees per tonne of coal in the pension fund is not being fully implemented. There have been proposals to collect 20 rupees on the sale of coal. The coal mine owners should deposit five percent of the profits they earn in the pension fund. To strengthen the pension fund, the central and state governments and the coal owners should establish a special fund for retired coal workers every year and make permanent proposals.

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