NEW DELHI: Even before the coal ministry started the competitive bidding for allocation of blocks, the trade unions have begun opposing it. The National Front of Indian Trade Unions (NFITU) on Wednesday threatened to go on a strike from July 10, demanding the cancellations of coal blocks allocated to private companies for captive mines. It also denounced the plan for competitive bidding for allocation of captive mines.
‘‘Our strike is against the government’s move to privatise coal mines. There are huge irregularities in the allocation process and we are demanding cancellation of all the licences,’’ Deepak Jaiswal, president of the NFITU, told reporters on Wednesday.
Pending the reform of allowing private participation in commercial coal mining, competitive bidding is seen to be a way to make the process transparent for captive mines allocation.
The union which has an association with the National Congress Party (NCP) has alleged that 186 coal blocks have been allocated in an illegal manner, incurring a loss of over R43 lakh crore to the government.
‘‘If we consider the cost per tonne to be about R1,000, then its total cost will be over R43 lakh crores, more than any other scandal in size,’’ he said.
The strike notice has already been sent to the labour and coal ministry.
The union had written letters to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, pointing out the irregularities in coal block allocation and exploitation of workers.
‘‘Coal India violated the labour laws openly. We demand that the company should be dissolved and instead a new state-level company be formed,’’ Jaiswal said.
The union has sought support from other unions such as Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and Indian National Trinamool Trade Union Congress (INTTUC), which may also go on a protest rally before the Parliament.