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Coal crisis triggers mass unrest in western Odisha

Coal crisis triggers mass unrest in western Odisha

Coal crisis for industries operating in the state’s western belt has sparked off a massive mass protest. More than 40,000 people from Jharsuguda, Sambalpur and Sundargarh took to the streets in protest of the step treatment meted out to regional industries by MCL.

The people’s movement was lead by Jharsuguda Visthapita Sachetana Sangha today and was joined in by people from all walks of life including industrial workers from Jharsuguda. Apprehensive of job losses and full/partial closure of factories,  people from various social strata like project displaced families, civic outfits, NGOs and community joined the ‘dharana’ in front of MCL CMD’s office and demanded coal materialization for Odisha based industries on priority basis before the state’s coal is exported beyond state boundaries. The core issues raised during the dharna was ‘Odisha’s Coal for Odisha First’. The local MLA Jharsuguda, Naba Kisore Das, also joined the movement and submitted a memorandum to MCL CMD on behalf of the local populace and industries.

The memorandum lists the operational stress that regional industries are undergoing due to coal crunch and demands urgent remedial measures on three key issues – Odisha’s coal for Odisha’s industries first, increased production from MCL and coal security for Odisha based industries. The representatives also said that if the local industries are not given priority and assurance of coal security the movement will be taken up at state level till the demands are met. In recent times many local industries have faced closure and lock outs due to acute shortage of coal.

The state industries are stressed out as majority of the coal produced by MCL is getting diverted to IPP’s (Independent Power Producers) within and beyond state. This has resulted in serious socio economic crisis leading to job losses due to industrial crisis in the region particularly. Major industries like Vedanta, Hindalco, Bhushan and Jindal have also suffered on account of this that reflects in their output and performance.

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