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CIL may suffer 3.6 mt production loss due to strike

16 Sep 2013

September 16: Coal India Ltd (CIL) may suffer production loss to the extent of 3.6 million tons (mt) in September due to a 3-day strike called by its trade unions to oppose the government’s decision to oppose divesting of 5% stake in the company, a top official told ICMW.

“I can’t specifically talk about production loss but currently our supplies are 1.2 million tons per day,” CIL Chairman & Managing Director S Narsing Rao said in an interview to ICMW.

“I cannot say whether the strike would be a 100% or nothing would happen at all. Or, whether there would be no production or a partial impact. We have to wait and see how effective the strike is going to be, if at all it happens. The fact is that everyday 1.2 million tons of coal are supplied, which may be affected,” Rao said.

He said the recent meeting with the representatives of trade unions in Delhi on September 11 went on quite well and another round of meetings is scheduled for September 20. “It will be a continuation of the previous meeting because all things could not be discussed at the September 11 meeting,” Rao said.

Asked how optimistic he is about avoiding the strike, considering the reports that the government has decided to postpone the proposed divestment of shares, the CMD said, “Let us see. There are efforts to avoid the strike because it disrupts coal supplies to lots of consumers. Consumers can face a lot of other problems as well, especially the power sector. We are working on it. Let’s see.”

Asked if the strike would lead to a huge burden on the country reeling under a coal shortage, Rao said, “Obviously, the country will face problems because coal and railways are extremely important for the economy.”

For Coal India it might be a loss of a few hundred crores of rupees, but the issue is the country. A three-day disruption would mean much more than that because there will always be a lag in resuming things once Railways get disrupted, he said.

“A strike means there would be disruption in supplies and the Railways would get disrupted as well. Resuming things after the strike will also lead to loss. So it is more than just three days’ production loss,” Rao added.