(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 25, 2011
JAMMU & KASHMIR
Coal Workers Face Death Prospect, Authorities Callous
IN Jammu & Kashmir, workers and employees working in Metka, Mogla, Bariyal, Badogh of Kalakote and other coalmines are full of resentment these days over the non-implementation of the Sixth Pay Commissionís recommendations for them. They are also demanding discontinuation of the practice of deliberately creating breaks in the services of casual workers, even though they have been working in their present jobs for many years at a stretch.
The resentment gripping the coal workers in the state has got excessively intensified because the management of the J&K Minerals Limited has always turned a deaf ear to their demands. The workers working in these coalmines stopped lifting coal with effect from October 12, 2011, though they continue the coal and gypsum extraction tasks. While there were five meetings between the representatives of workers and the JKML management, some even in the presence of the concerned minister, these exercises went futile because of the callous and adamant attitude of the management. In the meantime, the prices of various essential commodities have increased manifold and, as a result, these coal workers are leading a pathetic life amid severe financial constraints.
This callous attitude of the management has compelled the workers to think of intensifying their struggle and on December 15, the workers of all the mines held a gate meeting in the Mogla mine area, where they unanimously decided to start a fast unto death inside the Mogla mine. As per this decision, more than 500 coalmine workers have already entered the said mine and started a fast unto death three kilometres inside.
From the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), its state general secretary Om Parkash, state treasurer Sham Prasad Kesar and joint secretary Ramesh Chander have asked the state government and the management of the J&K Minerals Limited, to immediately initiate negotiations for a resolution of the just and genuine demands of these workers. The authorities at all levels would do well to have in view the risk facing the life of the workers sitting on a fast unto death inside the mine. The CITU leaders have warned that the lack of oxygen and the presence of dangerous gases at the fast site may cause a loss of several lives and it is the JKML management and the state government that would be squarely responsible if any such untoward incident occurs.