Chhattisgarh iron ore, coal output take a hit

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 21, 2013 09:10 hrs

Raipur, Feb 21 (IANS) The second consecutive day of trade union strike Thursday took a heavy toll on iron ore and coal mine output in Chhattisgarh as workers stayed away, officials said.

Coal production has been severely affected at several major mines of the South Eastern Coalfields Ltd. (SECL), in northern parts of the state while iron ore mining was halted at National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd's Bailadila mines at Kirandul and Bacheli in Dantewada district of southern Bastar region.

"Coal production was almost entirely suspended since Thursday morning at Gevra coalmine, described as Asia's largest open cast mine," a senior official at the Bilaspur-headquartered South Eastern Coalfields Ltd. said. He added that trade union workers had even refused to allow contract workers at the mine.

Nearly 90 percent of iron ore mining at NMDC mines at Kirandul and Bacheli in the leftist insurgency-hit Dantewada district was halted, mainly because trade unions enforced the strike and blockaded the points leading to the sprawling hilltop iron ore mine area.

The NMDC Ltd., India's largest iron ore producer and exporter in the the public sector, produces roughly 60,000 tonnes of ore a day from its Dantewada district mines in Chhattisgarh.

According to the official data, the state has about one-fifth of India's total coal and iron ore reserves.

The 48-hour strike which began Wednesday to protest rising food prices, violation of labour laws and other issues, has hit banking, insurance and transport services across the state Thursday too, but educational institutions have remained unaffected.

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