ANGUL: Children of MCL oustees continue to stall coal mining in Hingula open cast mine at Bhalugadia village. Their agitation entered fourth day on Saturday even as the Union Coal Secretary Anil Swarup held talks with the Government on ways to augment MCL’s performance.
Hingula is one of eight mega coal mines in Talcher. The children have resorted to the closure since Wednesday after their parents were arrested for staging protests demanding employment in the company in lieu of their land.
The mine produces around 15,000 tonne of coal per day and its production and despatch have been hit by the agitation.
Sources said at least 20 school-going children of Bhalugadia village, all in the age group of five to 10, are staging dharna in front of the coal mine every day. Their parents, though, have already been released.
Although the district child protection officials urged them to return to their houses, the children said they would not budge unless the demand made by their parents is fulfilled by the MCL. And with children at the forefront of the agitation, the administration is helpless in dealing with the situation.
“It is illegal to use children for any kind of protest as per law. No one including their parents should be allowed to violate rights of children. We are trying to find a solution to vacate the children from the spot and if required, we will seek help of the police,” said District Child Protection Officer, GC Behera.
A senior MCL official said there was delay in providing jobs to the oustees due to cancellation of the coal block allocated to a private company. “The process to provide them employment will soon start,” he said.