Telangana: Coal production resumes, schools reopen
Hyderabad: After over a month, coal production resumed in the state-run Singareni coal mines Tuesday while schools and colleges that were shut in support of a separate Telangana reopened in Andhra Pradesh.
Coal workers in 50 mines spread over four districts of Telangana returned to work after unions decided to `temporarily` call off their strike around midnight Monday.
Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) convenor M Kodandaram announced an end to the strike after talking to the management of the company on behalf of the unions.
The management agreed to treat the strike period as special leave, pay festival advance and promised to take back cases registered against the strikers.
The resumption of coal production in Singareni after 35 days has come as a huge relief to six states including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka which were reeling under electricity shortage.
Andhra Pradesh and other states had imposed electricity cuts on domestic, industrial and agricultural sectors as electricity generation at thermal power stations was badly affected by the strike.
Singareni officials said about 22,000 workers reported for duty against the workforce of 40,000 for the first shift.
As the information about withdrawal of strike has not reached many employees, officials expect normalcy to be restored only from Wednesday.
About 70,000 Singareni employees were on strike since Sep 13, paralysing coal production.
With a section of workers in Khammam district later calling off the strike, production of 30,000 to 50,000 tonnes of coal was taking place. The normal daily coal production in the mines is 150,000 tonnes.
Singareni suffered a loss of Rs 600 crore due to the strike. It lost another Rs 120 crore towards payment of wages to the employees during the strike period.
Government and private educational institutions also reopened in Telangana after more than a month.
About 150,000 government teachers withdrew the strike after talks with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Monday night.
The government agreed to all their demands except formation of Telangana state saying the issue does not come under its purview.
The development followed JAC`s decision to exempt educational institutions from the strike.
Private schools, colleges, technical and professional education institutes also reopened across Telangana, comprising 10 districts including Hyderabad.
The managements of these institutions said they would run classes on Saturdays and other holidays to make up for the loss of school days during the strike.
The government had threatened to derecognise educational institutions which failed to reopen from Tuesday.
The development came as a big relief to parents. JAC was also under pressure to exempt educational institutions in view of concerns that students may lose the academic year.
The employees of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corp (APSRTC) withdrew their 28-day strike Saturday.
With this, only government employees in Telangana are continuing the strike. The government is hopeful of an early breakthrough in the talks with the employees` unions.
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