This has come at a bad time for the power sector and the state-owned company as 10 power plants in India are facing a severe shortage of coal at the beginning of 2019
The nationwide workers' strike beginning on January 8 may cost Coal India at least 3.6 million tonne (MT) of production and sales worth Rs 500 crore as four central trade unions (CTU) decided to join the protest against policies of the Modi government, Business Standard reported.
The Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) backed by Congress, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) backed by CPI, Centre of India Trade Unions backed by CPI(M) and Forward Bloc-supported Hind Mazdoor Sabha have asked workers at all plants to join the strike.
This has come at a bad time for the power sector and the state-owned company as 10 power plants in India are facing a severe shortage of coal at the beginning of 2019. To address the sudden hike in demand, Coal India was ramping up production and liquidating its stocks in the process.
The company usually keeps 30 MT stock with itself in case of such emergencies. But with rising demand, its contingency stock has fallen below 25 MT.
"While it is true that coal supplies to power generators will be hit, the strike is a last resort. We have time and again raised our issues, but it has fallen on deaf ears," SQ Zama, Secretary General of the National Mine Workers’ Federation, is quoted in the report as saying.
According to an India Ratings & Research report in November 2018, India's energy requirement rose 4.9 percent, while available energy increased 5.2 percent. "Thermal generation in November 2018 was supported by an increase in monthly production by Coal India to 52.1 MT. Coal inventory at power stations improved 26.2 percent due to higher production and low seasonal electricity demand," the report stated.
In December 2018, Coal India's sales volume dipped 1.2 percent due to a decline in production. The company is trying hard to balance its production and despatch levels, but the strike will impact their efforts.An official of the company said they tried to discuss issues of the trade unions to arrive at a compromise, all to no avail.