CITU Stages Stir for Mines Reopening
KOIDA (Sundargarh): Members of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) resorted to agitation on Friday to build pressure on the State Government for reopening 13 closed mines in Sundargarh. They said thousands of contract workers have been rendered jobless due to the closure.
Senior CITU leaders including national vice-president Bishnu Mohanty and CPM’s Bonai legislator Laxman Munda accompanied by thousands of protestors laid siege to the office of Deputy Director of Mines (DDM) in Koida mining sector of Sundargarh.
Simultaneously, agitators paralysed the single track rail route at Roxy railway siding for two hours.
Mohanty accused the State Government of being callous as 12 applications for second Renewal of Mining Lease (RML) gathered dust leading to closure of two SAIL mines and 11 private mines in Sundargarh and 14 mines in adjacent Keonjhar district.
Mohanty said in Koida, above 25,000 contract workers engaged in mines and five private railway sidings are now without work, while in Keonjhar the number is much higher. He demanded early restoration of production in the closed mines, payment of wages to the workers during the period of closure and periphery development by mines owners. The CPM legislator said if the Government fails to act fast, they would sit on dharna before the State Assembly from May 27.
While mining operation at SAIL’s two mines in Koida has been suspended from May 17, the rest 11 iron ore and manganese mines were closed over next two days. As of now, only 14 of the total 70 mines in Koida are in operation. Due to closure of 13 mines, the per day royalty has come down to `one crore from `three crore.
Sources said in Keonjhar, the royalty has dropped to `four crore from `nine crore. To make things worse for iron and steel industries in the two districts, there is a crisis of raw materials. Koida DDM Mihir Senapati said a report has been sent to the district administration and the State Government for appropriate action.
Meanwhile, truck and tipper operators in Rourkela have also demanded restoration of normalcy as they are facing tough time with less transportation work.