Mining operations stalled in Central India
Posted by redpines on February 29, 2012
Much of the February 28 strike action is happening in India’s cities, but there are reports of industries being shut down in rural areas as well. The following report from Zee News discusses the effects of the strike in Chhattisgarh, a heavily rural area in central India. Chhattisgarh is also a CPI(Maoist) stronghold, and an area where the Maoists have struggled against mining interests for years.
Strike hits mining in Chhattisgarh
February 28, 2012
Raipur: The nationwide strike called by the country’s trade unions has hit bauxite, coal and iron ore mining in mineral-rich Chhattisgarh, officials said on Tuesday.
Reports coming in from the state’s northern Surguja district say that bauxite mining has been severely hit at Mainpat area, about 450 km north from here. Aluminium major BALCO, in which Vedanta Resources Plc holds 51 percent stake, has mines in Manipat.
Contracted miners gathered in groups with flags and banners at mines and raised slogans against an alleged anti-labour policy of the Indian government. Dozens of trucks transporting bauxite from Mainpat to BALCO’s plant in Korba town were stranded on forested roads due to the strike.
Officials in South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL), the largest profit-making subsidary of the public sector Coal India Ltd, informed that coal mining works were halted at mines in Korba district, some 250 km north from here.
NMDC Ltd., India’s largest iron ore producer and exporter in the public sector, too has been affected by the strike, with ‘very low turnout’ of mine workers at two iron ore mining complexes – Kirandul and Bacheli – under Bailadila hills in Maoist violence-hit Dantewada district, some 420 km south of Raipur.
As many as 11 trade unions, having about eight lakh public sector employees, barring the railways, are participating in the strike which has been supported by the trade union wings of all major parties. The unions are demanding an end to contract labour, amendments to the Minimum Wages Act, an increase in gratuity payout and compulsory registration of trade unions within 45 days.