Parbatpur coal block deadlocked, 2000 hit

Over 2,000 contract workers hired by Electrosteel Castings Limited Company (ESCL) at Parbatpur coal block, 30km from Bokaro, got marching orders late last night while the private investor lost its captive coal source in a chain of developments triggered by a Supreme Court axe in the wake of the Coalgate scam.

Coal India Limited (CIL) has taken over the coal block so far controlled by ESCL to cater to the needs of its sister company Electrosteel Steel Limited, 5km away.

The CIL has also made Dhanbad-based Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) the coal block’s custodian.

Eyewitnesses said things moved fast.

Around 11.30pm yesterday, BCCL general manger A.K. Vohra along with its AGM Subodh Prasad, BCCL safety manager P.K. Chowdhry and other officials and two dozen BCCL guards reached Parbatpur. Ordering the mine’s indefinite closure, BCCL authorities told workers at the site that as work had stopped, everyone had to vacate the coal block zone.

Confirming the takeover, BCCL chairman-cum-managing director T.K. Lahiri said he had received a fax in office from CIL last evening that directed BCCL to take charge. “It was done last night. As per protocol, this information was also given to the director-general of mines safety,” Lahiri said.

On if the BCCL was interested in mining, a senior BCCL official, who did not want to be named, clarified: “BCCL has only been made the custodian of the coal block. As such, it is not interested in coal mining. The Union coal ministry will decide upon the future course of action.”

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