ROURKELA: The fate of thousands of workers hangs in balance after eight operational mines in Koida Mining Circle (KMC) of Sundargarh district were auctioned and re-allotted with no certainty of new leaseholders absorbing them.
There are 3,000-3,500 direct and 5,000-6,000 indirect workers linked to these eight mines.
Sources said during a meeting on Tuesday, a top official of the Mining department put the ball in the court of old leaseholders and asked to keep their employees with them.
Though no written instruction was issued in this effect, it is irrational to think that those losing rights and business on auctioned mines will be able to accommodate the workers after March 31.
The auction process for the eight operational merchant mines has been completed and the State government wants production by the fresh allottees to start from April 1 to ensure uninterrupted mineral supply.
Newly-appointed Deputy Director of Mines, Koida LD Nayak said the successful bidders are likely to start operation from April 1.
When asked if the new mines owners would be instructed to employ the existing workers, Nayak sought to parry the question and said no specific direction has yet been received from the Government.
The Rungta Group’s five mines in Sundargarh were taken up for auction.
The rest three include one mine of PK Ahuluwalia and two of AMTC. Sources in Rungta Group said more than 2,000 direct workers of the five mines in KMC have been served three months notice for disengagement.
Meanwhile, CITU has demanded rehabilitation of the existing workers of the eight mines. CITU vice-president of Odisha unit Pramod Samal said the new mines owners would not be allowed to operate if they refuse to rehabilitate the existing workers.
The state government has been apprised about CITU’s demand in writing, he added.
Livelihood at risk
8 operational mines in Koida Mining Circle have been re-allotted
3,000-3,500 direct and 5,000-6,000 indirect workers linked to these 8 mines
Over 2,000 direct workers of Rungta Groups’ mines served three months notice for disengagement
Govt wants production by fresh allottees to start from April 1 to ensure uninterrupted mineral supply