The strike is likely to result in production loss of up to 1.5 million tonnes a day.
New Delhi: Five major trade unions have shut down production at all coalfields of Coal India Limited for five days starting today, despite a last minute appeal by the management of Coal India.
Following are the latest developments:
Trade unions are opposing government's coal block ordinance which may allow private companies to mine and sell coal commercially.
Coal India produces around 80 per cent of India's overall coal and feeds 82 of the 86 coal-based thermal power plants in India.
The strike is likely to result in production loss of up to 1.5 million tonnes a day. Which means a five-day strike can hit output by 8 million tonnes.
As of January 1, coal inventory at power plants stood at nine days. But 20 power plants have coal stocks of less than four days.
The unions have agreed to meet Coal Minister Piyush Goyal this evening. They had boycotted a meeting called by Mr Goyal on Saturday in Delhi.
The management of Coal India Limited or CIL has appealed to the unions not to go on strike, saying that power production across the country could be hit if coal is not transported on time to various power plants across the country.
Coal India has already stepped up supplies to the power plants, which have been facing fuel shortages, to tide over the likely disruption of supplies due to the proposed strike. "CIL is supplying extra volumes of coal to the power plants and the Railways is fully cooperating with the coal PSU," an official said.
Coal is the most dominant energy source in India's energy scenario. Coal meets around 52 per cent of primary commercial energy needs in India against 29 per cent the world over.
India is the third largest coal producing country in the world after China and the USA.
The five major trade unions backing the strike - Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Confederation of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and Hind Mazdoor Sangh - represent almost 90 percent of Coal India's half-a-million workforce.