As the world struggles with the COVID19 pandemic and the coronavirus curve doesn’t seem to be anywhere near to flattening, the political masters have some different designs altogether.
The time when the political, social, and economic orientation of the country should be in one direction i.e controlling the pandemic and saving lives, the Modi government seems to have taken the task of selling the natural resources of the country.
The Narendra Modi led Union Government led initiated to auction 41 coal blocks for commercial mining on 18th June 2020. These coal blocks include ones in the state of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Odisha.
The decision was widely criticised for violation of environmental, legislation and constitutional provisions. The move will also have a big impact on the lives of landowners, mining workers, and the Adivasi communities living around the area.
The coal mine workers had called for a 3-day strike from July 2nd to July 4th, 2020 demanding the reversal of the decision to allow 100% FDI in the coal mining sector. Other civil societies, land rights organizations, environmentalists, Adivasis, and farmer organizations, students’ organizations and political parties have extended solidarities and support to the strike.
After having lost 20 farmers' sons in uniforms & amidst the tensions on the borders,the PM continues in his spree for selling of nation's assets! Meanwhile,all TU s in the coal sector including the RSS led BMS have announced a joint strike opposing this decision. #CoalStrike pic.twitter.com/GZpbRjXyiQ
— Mayukh Biswas (@MayukhDuke) July 1, 2020
The Coal Workers strikes
On 1st July 2020, a virtual meeting was convened between Coal Minister Prahlad Joshi and trade Union leaders at Coal India. As no solutions could be arrived at, the unions moved ahead with their demands. In addition to the left parties, the workers’ union of the Sangh Parivar, BMS has also been involved in the strike under pressure to do so.
As the strike moved to day two, the strike has only intensified. Coal mine workers and other trade unions across the countries have extended support for the cause.
It was reported that almost 4.5 Lakh coal mine workers have not gone to work. While 3 Lakh workers were working with Coal India and another 50000 workers were with Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) and another lakh were contractual employees. The union leaders have said that strike has been successful with both permanent and temporary workers joining in for the cause. Coal India authorities have maintained that the strike had little impact on mining activities. As mining activities came to a standstill on the first day of the strike, the loss was estimated to be around 2 million tonnes of output.
On the second day of the three-day coal strike, central trade unions and peasant and agricultural labour organisations rally in support and solidarity. #AllIndiaProtestDay #CoalStrike #TradeUnionUnity @AICCTUhq pic.twitter.com/17JqAzAnOB
— Dipankar (@Dipankar_cpiml) July 3, 2020
Support extended to Coal Mineworkers’ strike:
The Left Parties from all across the country have extended support to the protesting coal mine workers. 10 Central Trade Unions had called for a joint protest in solidarity with the coal mine workers.
Joint protest by 10 central trade unions in New Delhi on July 3, against Modi government’s attack on working class and their rights. They also called for an immediate end to the the privatisation of various sectors like railways, defence, coal and insurance. @AICCTUhq pic.twitter.com/wkpcTgv322
— CPIML Liberation (@cpimlliberation) July 3, 2020
From across the country, support was extended to the coal mine workers. This included trade unions from Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, and Bihar
CPIM activists demonstrate across the state of Jharkhand against privatisation of the coal sector by the Modi govt. Pictures from Pakur, Sahibganj and Lohardaga. pic.twitter.com/FrPrOI4Gj9
— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) July 3, 2020
In West Burdwan (West Bengal) and Asansol district.
কয়লা শিল্প বেসরকারীকরণের বিরুদ্ধে ট্রেড ইউনিয়নের যুক্ত এ্যাকশন কমিটির আহ্বানে তিনদিনের (২,৩,৪ ই জুলাই) ধর্মঘট সফল করতে পশ্চিম বর্ধমান জেলার কোলিয়ারি অঞ্চলগুলোতে শ্রমিকদের পিকেটিং।#coalstrike pic.twitter.com/LzypO77PGD
— Ekushe Bamfront (@EkusheBamfront) July 2, 2020
Protest of Grameen Mazdoor Union in various parts of Rohtas district, Bihar protest as part of all India protest demonstration.