Workers of Singareni Collieries go on three-day strike against privatisation of coal blocks in Telangana

Report by KEC correspondent

To oppose the central government’s decision to auction four coal blocks in the State of Telangana for commercial mining, 43,000 workers of Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) have gone on a three-day strike from December 9 with the slogan ‘Save Singareni’. The strike would cover 45 coal mines spread over six districts.

SCCL is a public sector undertaking, owned 51% by the state government and 49% by the central government. Coal supplies from SCCL are crucial for thermal power plants of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Privatisation of coal mines will affect both the availability and price of electricity to people of these states.

Setting aside their ideological affiliations, the trade unions of Singareni Collieries, affiliated to the five central trade unions – INTUC, AITUC, CITU, HMS and BMS, besides the TRS-affiliated Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS) have come together to observe the 72-hour strike.

Their main demand is that the central government should de-list the four coal blocks from the auction list and allow the government-owned SCCL to take up coal mining in the four blocks — Kalyan Khani Block-6, Koyagudem Block-III, Sattupalli Block-III and Shravanapalli in the State. Their strike notice listing all the demands is attached.

The unions representing the contract workers of the SCCL have also joined and asked all the workers to make the three-day strike a success to achieve the other major demands including hike in salaries of the contract workers employed in the SCCL on a par with Coal India Limited (CIL), as recommended by the High Power Committee.

The Chief Minister of Telangana has also written to the Prime Minister to stop the auction of the four coal blocks of Singareni for commercial mining by private operators. (Letter attached)

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