MCL’s Kaniha, Balram coal mines moving from closures to close down!

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Talcher: Sporadic stoppages have pushed Kaniha and Balram coal mines in Talcher coalfields towards the threshold of becoming economically unviable for Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), which faces an uphill target of 160 million tonne coal production and supply plagued with intermittent obstructions by locals and operational challenges.
While coal mines in entire Talcher coalfields witnessed strikes and bandhs, Kaniha OCP, with 10 million tonne annual production target, saw a record 1,269 hours of stoppages during the current financial year.
Operations at Balram OCP has remained affected for more than 1,001 hours due to strikes by peripheral villagers up to yesterday (November 12), which is the second most affected mine due to stoppages.
Operations at Balram OCP continued to remain affected since October 6, due to internal rift between Solada and Danara villagers.
In cumulative figures, Kaniha OCP, which produces 25,000 tonne coal a day, has remained closed for more than 52 days this financial year, while Balram OCP under Hingula Area has remained shut for 42 days due to strikes on even trivial or concocted issues for petty gains.
An hour of disturbance at a project affects the operations of entire one shift, as momentum once gone takes its own time to recover.
At Talcher, all the coal mines of MCL have suffered stoppages during the current financial year, with Lingaraj OCP being the least affected with closures of total 371 hrs and 30 minute (more than 15 days) as recorded up till yesterday.
These unwarranted strikes have put into question the economic viability of both Kaniha and Balram projects, which besides deploying huge earth moving machinery and contractual manpower, have provided permanent employment to a large number of local villagers in lieu of tenancy land acquired by MCL under CBA Act.
Besides, contribution to the District Mineral Fund (DMF) by Balram and Kaniha mines for development of project-affected regions was estimated at Rs 70 crore for year 2019-20, which is severely affected by villagers’ strikes.
MCL has provided 1,392 permanent jobs to land owners as compensation awarded against 687 hectare land acquired under the CBA Act at Kaniha OCP, which was again closed on 10th of November by the workers of a contractor firm.
Similarly, at Balram OCP, at least 3,584 employments have been provided against 1,390 hectare of land.
As on date, MCL has provided 16,243 permanent jobs to the land owners in Odisha as per the R&R Policy of the state.

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