Mining conglomerate Vedanta has suspended mining operations at its Bicholim iron ore mine in Goa, citing “safety and security” reasons in the wake of growing labour unrest.
The suspension is from October 13 at the Bicholim mine, located at village Amona in Bicholim Taluka of north Goa.
“The management of Sesa Mining Corporation through this publication would hereby like to inform that union representatives along with their workmen have been continuously indulging in illegal and unjustified acts,” Vedanta said in a public notice today.
Sesa Mining Corporation, a part of Vedanta, operates the Bicholim mine, which has around 462 direct and 190 indirect employees.
“Therefore in the compelling circumstances, the company with a heavy heart has decided in the interest of safety and security of all its employees, to suspend the operations/ work at SMCL Bicholim mine with effect from October 13, 2016,” it said.
“Presently, workmen are abstaining from work themselves and also not allowing any employees, contractors and their laborers to discharge any work at the Bicholim mines.
“Due to the systematic and deliberate action created by workmen, it is beyond the control of the management to continue operations at Bicholim mine in the prevailing circumstances,” Vedanta said in the notice.
Goa produces low grade iron ore (Fe content below 58 per cent), which is exported to China. After removal of the mining ban by the Supreme Court in 2014, the state is allowed to mine 20 million tonnes, with the highest share of 5.5 million tonnes going to the firm led by billionaire Anil Agrawal.
Vedanta mines iron ore in Goa from the Codli and Bicholim mines. It also has a met coke and pig iron plant, besides a captive power plant in the state.
The notice further says: “Employees willing to work have been forcibly evicted and threatened not to report for duty. They have also resorted to illegal means with malafide intention by gathering in front of the company gate and preventing any one from entering inside the company premises.”
Workmen are not reporting for duty in their scheduled shift and there is continuous breach of existing settlement and agreed service conditions. The workmen and the union collectively through their illegal and unjustified acts prevented the company to continue mining operations, it added.
“As a result, all the operations at the mines have come to a standstill. All such unjustified acts of the union representatives along with their workmen are in violation of the law,” Vedanta claimed.
The current situation is a clear indication that workers would continue to resort to illegal and unjustified activities in further time also, it said.