INTUC demands priority in coal supplies to industries in Chhattisgarh

The trade body says SECL is supplying more coal outside Chhattisgarh to the detriment of industries within the state

New Delhi (India), February 10: Increasing share of supply of coal produced in Chhattisgarh to industries in other states is adversely impacting power projects and industries in the state, according to the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), which has demanded that priority should be given to local industries in coal supplies.

Chhattisgarh has coal reserves of an estimated 56 billion tonnes and accounts for 18% of the national coal reserves, but is facing an unprecedented coal crisis. The South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL) produces over 165 million tonnes of coal annually, which is supplied to industries in Chhattisgarh as well as outside.

More than 250 industries in Chhattisgarh have set up captive power projects to meet their power needs. These units produce around 4,000 MW of electricity and require around 32 million tonnes of coal a year, which is 19% of SECL’s overall production. SECL is failing to supply an adequate quantity of coal to these units in breach of existing agreements. Even Independent Power Producers in the state are struggling to ensure 15-20 days of buffer coal reserve because of the crisis, even as coal supplies continue outside the state.

“For the past one year, SECL has increased the share of coal supplies to power projects and industries outside the state at the cost of industries in Chhattisgarh. Even though the coal is mined in Chhattisgarh, the share of coal supplied locally is shrinking, leading to a coal crisis and huge financial losses to industries in the state,” said Sanjay Singh, National General Secretary of INTUC.

Mr. Singh, who is also President of INTUC’s Chhattisgarh unit, has written to the Prime Minister, Coal Minister, Labour Minister, Coal India’s CMD, SECL’s CMD, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, and others demanding immediate remedial attention to ensure coal demands of industrial units in the state are met on a priority basis.

The INTUC official warned that the coal crisis can lead to the closure of industrial units in the state, creating unemployment which could lead to social unrest. He said the central government is responsible for creating the crisis in non-BJP ruled states. He also warned that INTUC would launch an agitation and block the movement of coal vehicles to other states if adequate coal supplies are not ensured to Chhattisgarh.

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