Work suspended at a ECL colliery near Durgapur after INTTUC threat

Work at the Kumardihi – B colliery, located in the ECL’s Bankola mining area near Durgapur, was suspended by an order yesterday, after a senior INTTUC office bearer threatened an executive at gunpoint on August 30.

inttuyrainmool-labour-wing-supporters
Unruly INTTUC supporters

The suspension of work order for an indefinite period by the The Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) – a sick subsidiary of Coal India Limited has come as a huge embarrassment for the ruling Trinamool Congress, specially at a time when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trying to showcase Bengal as an industry destination.

The office of the Personnel Manager of ‘Kumardihi – B’ mine received the communication regarding suspension of production from the ECL headquarters at around 6 p.m. yesterday. Mr Pallab Mukherjee, personnel manager said: “We have circulated the matter.”

“The executives are scared to work at the mine as the offender who threatened to kill one of the executive with a gun is yet to be arrested despite a police complaint at Pandaveswar police station. INTTUC workers are repeatedly threatening our executives to withdraw the complaint. None of the executives are willing to work at the mine. So we have decided to shut it down for an indefinite period,” said Niladri Roy, director (technical), ECL.

The Kumardihi colliery, with a production of 200 tonne per day, has 572 miners and nearly 60 executives. ECL has advised them to seek transfer to other collieries.

On August 30, INTTUC unit president Bappaditya Mukherjee had threatened welfare officer Dibyendu Ghosh when the latter questioned him about anomalies in the attendance register.

Madhusudan Mondal, an INTTUC supporter had not reported for work for four days from August 8, however he had been marked present by the attendance clerk Bappaditya Mukherjee, who is the unit president of Trinamool Congress labour wing, INTTUC.

ECL welfare officer, Dibyendu Ghosh said: “When I sought a clarification from attendance clerk Bappaditya Mukherjee, he started arguing with me. He said he was a Trinamool leader and I should not ask him such questions.”

Ghosh said Mukherjee then stormed out of the room and returned within minutes with a pistol. “He held the pistol to my head and threatened to kill me. He said Mandal was an INTTUC supporter and would therefore always be marked present. I dared not speak any more and left the colliery,” the welfare officer said.

After Ghosh lodged the first information report, INTTUC workers allegedly assaulted seven company executives outside the colliery the same night, damaged their cars and locked them in a room.

“They threatened to kill us if Ghosh did not withdraw the FIR,” one of the executives said. The police rescued them around 10 pm.

A second FIR has been lodged. The police said the accused were absconding.

Hareram Singh, INTTUC general secretary at the ECL mines in Asansol and Durgapur, termed the incident as unfortunate and said, “We do not support such malpractices and hooliganism.”

Mr Naren Chakraborty, INTTUC block president had said after the incident: “The suspension was unfortunate. We would pursue the matter with the higher authority.”

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