Congress puts off decision on Chhattisgarh coal mines


Raipur : South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), India’s largest coal-producing company, was relieved Thursday as the opposition Congress put off its decision to forcibly shut down production at its major mines in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district.

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The shutdown decision was deferred after SECL agreed to implement the key demands related to works to be done under corporate social responsibility (CSR) and to absorb those displaced by mines in Gevra, Dipka, Kusmunda and Korba areas.

These four are big coal mines of Bilaspur-headquartered SECL, which is one of the eight subsidiaries of the Coal India Limited (CIL), that produced a record 108 million tonnes coal in fiscal year 2009-10.

It has total 92 mines spread out in five districts of Chhattisgarh – Bilaspur, Raigarh, Korba, Surguja and Korea – and neighbouring Madhya Pradesh’s three districts of Shahdol, Umaria and Anuppur.

“The decision to shut down coal production of SECL in Korba district has been deferred indefinitely after the administration anchored a talk in which the firm’s management agreed to implement our major demands,” Jaisingh Agrawal, Congress legislator from Korba who is leading the movement, told IANS.

SECL spokesperson Alok Kumar Sinha said: “Now the fund for CSR to be spent in mining areas of Korba will be need-based and decisions are to be taken jointly by local representatives, SECL and district authorities.”

“Regarding issues related to land oustees, the SECL is referring the matter to CIL because it is a policy matter,” he added.