Sambalpur, August 14, 2015: ‘’Economic blockade’’ by the local outfits continue to paralyse mining operations in Talcher Coalfields of Odisha forcing Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) produce about 2.1 lakh tonne less coal daily, leading to loss of about Rs 5.26 crore to Odisha exchequer and Rs 20 lakh to CSR fund in two days.
Disruption in mining and transport operations of MCL may lead consumers in power generation sector, particularly in southern state, to fuel crunch if stalemate continues.
The disruption in mining operations began yesterday morning after local outfits resorted to ‘’economic blockade’’ and forcing closure of mines and offices of MCL in Talcher Coalfields, blaming company for delay in setting-up of a medical college and hospital.
MCL – the second largest coal producer and major contributor towards social upliftment in Odisha – had envisaged an ambitious CSR project of setting-up a 100-seated medical college with 500-bed hospital in Talcher at the cost of Rs 492 crore.
While an MoU signed with the State Government in March 2014 asked the company to take all efforts to start the academic session by 2016-17, the Company could only get the ‘’land free of all encumbrances’’ in December 2014, after having pursued the matter for almost seven years.
Thereafter, in the past six months MCL completed all necessary formalities, including identifying central public sector construction major National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) for the infrastructure development of a state-of-the-art health institution, named Mahanadi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (MIMSR).
Although company management informed the representatives about the progress on the project at a meeting at Angul held on 13.07.2015 in the presence of district administration, yet the vested interest resorted to disruption in mining operations accusing MCL for the delay in setting-up MIMSR.
The company, which has given employment to 11000 families along with compensation and other benefits, has been contributing beyond its CSR for the social upliftment in Odisha, particularly in the peripheral areas.
Since Rs 5 per tonne of coal produced by the MCL goes to CSR activities, this fund has incurred loss of about Rs 20,00,000 due to zero production in Talcher Coalfields following the ‘’economic blockade’’.
Miners in Talcher Coalfields produce about 2.1 lakh tonne of coal per day during this rainy season, which contributes about Rs 2.63 crore to the state exchequer.
As per reports from project areas in Talcher, staff and officers were forced to vacate the offices and work in mines remained halted.
This is for the third time in the current financial year that mining operations in Talcher Coalfields were shutdown on motivated grounds.