The strike is likely to result in production loss of up to 1.5 million tonnes a day.
Five major trade unions have shut down production at all coalfields of Coal India Limited for five days starting today, against the government's plan to allow private companies to mine and sell coal.
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. The strike is likely to result in production loss of up to 1.5 million tonnes a day.
Coal India Limited accounts for about 80 per cent of India's total output and worker strikes have previously crippled power plants. Coal fuels 60 percent of India's power production.
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.
Meanwhile, electricity workers union Electricity Employees Federation of India or EEFI has extended support to the strike call.
"Electricity Employees Federation of India conveys solidarity to united struggle of coal workers to protect the interest of people of India as well coal workers," EEFI General Secretary Prasanta N Chowdhury said.
Electricity workers will organise agitation and demonstration all over the country to impress upon the government to drop the path of confrontation with "the workers to appease the capitalists through reintroduction of slavery in the quest of cheap labour", the Federation said in a statement.
The union said that Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014 introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 19 is another similar step to "curb the right to electricity of people of India making broad way for private capitalists in power sector towards super profit without investment".