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Banking service, coal, steel production hit in Telugu states

Banking service, coal, steel production hit in Telugu states

Coal production in the state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) in Telangana was hit as the employees struck the work to oppose the Centre's move to auction four coal blocks.

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Hyderabad/Amaravati: The two-day nationwide strike called by trade unions against the central government’s policies affected the banking services and production of coal and steel in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Monday.

Protesting against the government’s plan to privatise public sector banks, as well as the Banking Laws Amendment Bill 2021, the bank employees joined the strike affecting the services in most of the public sector banks in both the Telugu states.

Coal production in the state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) in Telangana was hit as the employees struck the work to oppose the Centre’s move to auction four coal blocks.

With the majority of 42,000 workers participating in the strike, coal extraction was affected in all 23 underground and 19 open cast mines.

Major trade union Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS) affiliated to ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has backed the strike called by INTUC, AITUC, CITU and other central trade unions. Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BSM), however, is staying away from the strike.

This is the second strike in SCCL in less than four months. In December last year, the employees had observed a three-day strike to oppose the Centre’s move to auction four coal blocks.

The coal ministry proposes to auction Sattupally open cast Block-3 in Khammam district, Sravanpally open cast Block-3 in Asifabad district, Koya Gudem opencast Block-3 in Bhadradri Kothagudem, and Kalyanakhani underground Block-6 in Mancherial district.

The trade unions have threatened an indefinite strike if the Centre goes ahead with the process of calling tenders for the auction.

The government of Telangana is also strongly opposing the move. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop auctioning of four coal blocks of SCCL.

However, barring banks and SCCL, the strike call did not have much impact in Telangana. The impact was not visible in Hyderabad as RTC buses, cabs and auto-rickshaws plied as usual.

Various trade unions, however, took out rallies to protest the central government’s policies affecting workers, employees and farmers. Leaders of the Left parties led the protests.

Rallies were also taken out in undivided Warangal district. In Hanamkonda, TRS leader and government chief whip Vinay Bhaskar extended support to the protest by workers.

Trade unions, political parties, and students’ groups also staged protests in Khammam district to denounce the central government’s policies. The protesters did not allow RTC buses to come out of Khammam bus depot.

In Andhra Pradesh, a shutdown is being observed in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam to protest against the Centre’s move to privatise Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).

Steel production came to a halt as an overwhelming majority of workers joined the strike. Vehicular traffic was disrupted at various places in and around Visakhapatnam as leaders and workers of all political parties BJP and trade unions staged road blockade in support of the steel plant workers who have been protesting for more than a year.

Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee (VUPPC), which is spearheading the movement against privatisation, has called for the strike.

In Vijayawada, hundreds of workers participated in a rally organised by various trade unions to oppose the Centre’s ‘anti-worker’ policies.