Thousands of workers lose their jobs due to Supreme Court order

Bourgeois propaganda makes out that the judiciary is the dispenser of justice to all sections of society. However, this is not true. The judiciary actually serves to legitmise the preservation of the existing system of exploitation, loot and plunder of the vast majority of toilers, for the super profits of a handful of monopoly capitalist houses. The judiciary and executive both work solely in the interests of the capitalist class, in particular the monopolies.

Over 2,000 contract workers hired by Electrosteel Castings Limited Company (ESCL) at Parbatpur coal block, 30km from Bokaro, in Jharkhand were rendered jobless on March 31, 2015. This followed ESCL losing its captive coal source, in a chain of developments triggered by a Supreme Court order canceling coal allocation licenses in the wake of the Coalgate scam.

The Public Sector Coal India Limited (CIL) has now taken over the coal block and put it under the management of Dhanbad-based Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL). According to eyewitness reports, at about 11:30 p.m. on the night of March 31, the General Manager and some top officials of BCCL, accompanied by some 2 dozen BCCL security guards, arrived at Parbatpur and ordered the mine’s indefinite closure. The workers were told by the BCCL authorities that work at the site had stopped and so everyone had to vacate the coal block zone.

The coal block had been allotted by the UPA-I government to the ESCL in 2005. Coal mining in the block started in 2009. Many of the villagers who owned the land on which the coal block stood, had sold their lands to the company and taken a job with it. Now, with the closure of this mine, these workers are left with no source of livelihood. This is the kind of justice that has been dispensed by the Supreme Court and the Central Government to these workers.

It may be recalled that following the Supreme Court’s order in September 2014 cancelling various coal block allocations including that of the Parbatpur coal block, the NDA government decided to re auction these blocks. However, during the open bidding for these blocks in February 2015, there was only one bid for this block. According to the rules framed by the government for bidding, the government canceled this bid. The government then authorized CIL to make BCCL the custodian of the coal block at Parbatpur, until the Union government takes a decision on what to do with the coal mine. However, the BCCL will not carry out mining of coal, which means that the workers of the mine have been thrown out of their jobs.

The workers who have lost their jobs have been staging protests at the coal block gates since April 1, 2015, demanding that the government take over the coal block and provide them jobs. "We gave away our land for this coal block and were assured employment. We have been working at the plant for the past 5-6 years, earning our livelihood... we aren't concerned about who takes over the plant, we want our jobs and salary,"say the workers. On April 3, they held five BCCL officials hostage for over three hours demanding they be engaged in maintenance work at the coal mine.

The workers’ protest actions and the widespread support they enjoy in the area have put pressure on the state government. The state revenue minister is reported to have asked the BCCL director to engage the dismissed workers in maintenance work. The BCCL director has however declared they would need orders from CIL and the Union government in order to employ the local workers for this work. At the same time, a large number of state police and security personnel have been deployed at the coal block, to intimidate the workers and prevent militant protest actions.

The above case is another of many instances in which workers have been affected, rendered unemployed due to closure of factories and mines, under court orders. Sometimes this has been done in the name of countering pollution, or as in the present case, in the name of probing corruption. The workers, particularly those on contract, are left to fend for themselves, with neither the state nor the private company management willing to take any responsibility for their future.


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Defeat Privatisation    Electrosteel Castings Limited Company (ESCL)    Coal India Limited (CIL)    Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL)    Apr 16-30 2015    Struggle for Rights    Privatisation   

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