The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is facing a crisis of coal supply due to an ongoing strike in Odisha’s Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL). India’s largest power utility has four units shut down, while the current stock has become zero, said a statement by the company.
With operations paralysed at the Bharatpur open cast mine in Odisha since July 24, the Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) and the state and Central government have sustained a loss of nearly Rs 300 crore, the company said in a statement on Saturday.
After four employees were killed in a mining accident in Bharatpur on July 23, the BJP had called for a strike and coal production was stopped at the company’s Talcher coalfields. That strike was called off on July 31 after talks between the district administration, MCL officials and the families of the deceased seemingly ended amicably.
However, local residents allegedly backed by the BJD then entered the fray, stopping work and demanding a higher compensation.
Meanwhile, NTPC Talcher Kaniha power station in Odisha has been badly affected by the coal shortage for the eleventh day, the company said. The ongoing strike has led to very critical coal condition at the 3,000 MW plant, where power generation is running below 1000 MW.
The prevailing situation, say company officials, may result in acute shortage in power supply to Odisha as well as Southern and Eastern states. Coal production and supply have come to a halt and the power plant has received no coal from mines since July 25.
“It is estimated that 3005.77 Million Units of power generation has been suffered by the power generators due to zero supply of fuel from Talcher coalfields,” MCL said Saturday.
The MCL explained that it had decided to pay “an ex gratia amount of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased, along with full compensation as per Employees Compensation Act, gratuity of 15 days wages for each year of service completed, Provident Fund (PF), benefits under Coal Mines Pension Scheme and an employment in contractual establishment to a family member along with funeral expenses of Rs 5,000. A company source said that the calculated amount under the Act amounted to Rs 15-20 lakh for each of the deceased. “In addition, the CM has also announced Rs 5 lakh for each of the families,” he said.
The MCL, in its statement, referred to the new demands of Rs 3 crore as compensation and a permanent job with the company as “unjust” and attributed it to “some villagers of Talcher”. The company also stated that an inquiry was underway by the Director General Mines Safety (DGMS) and Internal Safety Organisation (ISO), as well as by the Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research.