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MCL resumes mining operation in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Mahanadi Coalfields Limited’s (MCL) Monday resumed coal production from its 40 million tonne per year capacity projects under Jagannath area in Angul district, following district administration removing the blockade by 122 people obstructing mining operations.

The mining operations restarted with the first shift on Monday after three days of obstruction by 122 people of Hensmul village adjacent to the MCL’s Bhubneswari OCP.

For expansion of its 25 MT capacity Bhubaneswari OCP, MCL requires Hensmul village it had acquired long back under CBA Act after providing all R&R benefits to the villagers, including employment and compensation package under rules.

“Even if villagers do not disturb our operations, but continue to occupy their dwellings in Hensmul village in the mining zone, the company would have no other option but to close down operations under Jagannath area by October or November as there will remain no room left for mining in view of safety norms due to people’s presence in Hensmul. This may cost loss of around 120 lakh tonnes coal production during current financial year,” said a release issued by the MCL.

Closure of mining operations at Jagannath Area, which has the production target of about 40 million tonnes for 2014-15, would mean snapping off fuel line to the power plants in Tamil Nadu, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh.

In line with the decision taken at the tripartite meeting held on July 6, 2014 under the aegis of District Administration, State Government, MCL (on Saturday July 12 ) appealed to all 122 project affected people terminated from jobs to refrain from agitation in view of minutes of the tripartite meeting. However, they refused to join, demanding payment of wages for period during which they remained on strike, which is unacceptable under the established norm of 'no work, no pay'.

Out of total 285 people, who were given jobs in the company and allotted plots in rehabilitation site provided by the Odisha government in the nearby locality Gurjang, 122 people had refused to vacate their dwellings despite continuous persuasion by the civil administration and company authorities and resorted to obstruct operations at two mega projects – Bhubaneswari OCP and Ananta OCP. It is noteworthy to mention that out of 122 terminated workers from Hensmul 79 also had company-provided quarters.

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