Panaji: A month after suspending operations at its Bicholim iron ore mine in Goa due to labour unrest, mining conglomerate Vedanta on Thursday said it has ‘revoked the suspension order’ with immediate effect.
The striking workers, however, said they will not resume duties till their demands are met by the company management.
“Vedanta Sesa Goa Iron Ore revoked the suspension order in the Bicholim mines with immediate effect. The management took the decision after employees appealed to resume work,” a company spokesman said on Thursday.
“We decided to revoke the suspension of operations after several requests were made from various quarters: employees, villagers, transporters and contractors etc who are dependent on mining for their livelihood. The management sincerely hopes that wise counsel will prevail on the employees/workmen and normal operations will continue,” the spokesman added.
The operations at the mine were suspended on 13 October, citing concerns over the safety and security of employees. The mining site has environment clearance limit of 0.90 metric tonnes out of total 5.5 MT capacity of Vedanta’s iron ore mining sites across the coastal state.
In mid-October, while suspending the operations of the mining lease, Vedanta had said, “The management of Sesa Mining Corporation through this publication would hereby like to inform that union representatives along with their workmen have been continuously indulging in illegal and unjustified acts.” The mining site has around 462 direct and 190 indirect employees.
Goa produces low grade iron ore ( iron content below 58%), which is exported to China.
After removal of the mining ban by the Supreme Court in 2014, the state is allowed to mine 20 million tonnes, with the highest share of 5.5 million tonnes going to the firm led by Anil Agrawal. Vedanta mines iron ore in Goa from the Codli and Bicholim mines. It also has a met coke and pig iron plant, besides a captive power plant in the state.
Meanwhile, Sesa Mining Corporation Employees’ Union (SMCEU) has said the workers will not report on their duties as the important demands have not yet been fulfilled.
“The major issue was regarding recognition of a union leader. That issue has not been fulfilled so the workers will not join the duties. The company had illegally suspended the operations in mid-October at Bicholim mines which they have now revoked. They have not done any favour to the workers,” Ajitsingh Rane, President, SMCEU, told PTI.
The union members have been demanding to recognise Rane as their leader, which the company management has refused — leading to a labour unrest. Entire General Body of the SMCEU had resolved to declare Rane as their leader. Also, the union had held rally in Panaji on Monday. Rane alleged the company management was resorting to arm-twisting methods to suppress the voice of the workers.