Monday, October 9, 2017
KCR rains Manna of concessions to Singareni Miners :Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
KCR rains Manna of concessions to Singareni Miners
Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
For the past one week or so skies opened up in the Telangana state and there are a torrential, incessant rains that brought much needed relief to the people and all the water bodies are brimming with full level water after several decades. On Sunday at Pragati Bhavan it was a torrential rain of different kind when Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has announced a series of concessions, benefits and welfare schemes for miners of the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) including interest-free housing loan of Rs 10 lakh, opening of six new underground mines with additional employment potential of 7,000 to 8,000 jobs and use of air conditioners in miners’ quarters with free power.
The Chief Minister has garnished his announcements with a promise that he would soon embark on a “Singareni Yatra” to take stock of welfare measures and facilities being provided to coal miners who gave a landmark victory to the TRS-affiliated Telangana Boggu Ghani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS) in the recognised union elections. During the Yatra, he would be laying foundation to six underground coal mines said CM.
Addressing a large turn out of coal workers who arrived at Pragathi Bhavan as part of “Atmiya Sammelanam”, the Chief Minister has assured that a total revamp of policies and practices in the company would be done, and he himself would devote more time to address the concerns including a two-hour review every month.
The coal miners raised slogans praising the Chief Minister and broke into loud applause when he announced that the housing loan of Rs 6 lakh proposed earlier would be enhanced to Rs 10 lakh. It was a spot decision taken by CM Chandrashekhar Rao when the miners sought enhancement even as he was speaking.
Stating that the SCCL continued to be the key growth engine of industry and economy in Telangana, he said the government was firm on taking it to a new level in development so that even larger mining companies including Coal India would learn from it.
Describing the victory of the TBGKS in the union elections as a historic one, he said winning nine of the 11 divisions was no mean achievement. “So far, it has been the unions winning elections and not the coal workers. The TBGKS victory should be seen as a victory of coal workers,” he said.
The Chief Minister announced that the coal workers returning home after a hard day’s work would now be able to enjoy minimum comfort of an air-conditioner. “You rightly deserve it. The SCCL Board will not only consider the miners’ request for allowing use of ACs in their quarters, but would also ensure supply of free power,” he said.
CM said that the coal workers were victims of bribery that was promoted consistently over a period of time. Taking a dig at the trade unions affiliated to the Left parties for encouraging such tendencies, he said he was shocked to know that coal workers seeking certification of medical invalidation were forced to cough up Rs 6 lakh per head to the medical board. The medical invalidation certificate helps a coal worker’s dependent to be considered for a job. “The medical department needs treatment in the company,” the Chief Minister said.
Stating that there were only two types of jobs in the company till now, CM said the company needs to diversify its activities taking advantage of its established practices of mining. SCCL will make foray into the mining of other minerals involving less risk, and to begin with, the mining of iron ore for the proposed Bayyaram steel factory would also be entrusted to them, he said.
Taking a compassionate view of the miners’ lives, the Chief Minister said those working in underground mines can’t be expected to remain underground their life time. “The company will introduce a new system that would facilitate posting of senior and ageing coal miners to opencast mines,” he said.
He said the union membership being paid by the miners would be reduced to one rupee. At present, the coal workers were paying an increased fee of Rs 20 each as against Rs 10 they paid earlier. An agreement will be signed with the representative unions to bring down the fee to a token amount of one rupee said CM.
The Chief Minister said he would also visit the SCCL hospitals where coal workers are being treated for their ailments and added that the government will consider tie-ups with bigger hospitals to ensure best medical facilities to coal workers if the existing hospitals of the company are found to be falling short.