Incidentally, social distancing cannot be maintained in the coal mining activities and miners are forced to work in groups for excavations in the underground mines.
Singareni Collieries Company (SCCL) has declared temporary layoffs of underground (UG) miners till the lockdown is lifted. The company made public its decision to stop work at the underground mines and manual drilling as a precautionary measure to halt the spread of the virus.
As per the guidelines of Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS) and the current situation prevailing due to Covid-19, SCCL has declared layoff in 22 underground mines and departments with effect from second shift today as a precautionary measure to contain Covid 19. By this about 20,000 underground coal miners and 9,000 department employees are kept away from their normal duties, which are generally group activities like face working, roof supporting, manual drilling etc,’’ a SCCL statement said.
But the management continues five mechanised underground mines where mining operations are mainly done by machinery like long wall, continuous miners, etc along with 18 opencast (OC) mines where employees work isolated and there are no chances of group activity for the spread of the disease. “The layoff may not result much in irregular coal supplies to thermal power stations as the total production from the laid off mines contribute around 10% of total company production only,’’ the statement added.
Wages will be paid to employees based on ID Act-1947. Incidentally, social distancing cannot be maintained in the coal mining activities and miners are forced to work in groups for excavations in the underground mines. It is learnt that in every shift, more than 500 miners work in groups in the mines increasing the possibility of spread of the virus in the mines and risking their lives even more.