Congress seeks Centre’s explanation on coal ordinance

Congress seeks Centre’s explanation on coal ordinance

4New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) Accusing the central government of legislating by stealth, the Congress Wednesday opposed the coal ordinance and sought an immediate explanation on the issue that has triggered a nationwide strike by workers in the industry.

“I think the government owes an immediate explanation when more than five lakh workers in this country in the coal sector are on strike. The government wants to wish it away,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters here.

An estimated five lakh employees in the coal industry Tuesday launched a five-day nationwide strike opposing commercial mining of the fossil fuel.

Facing a unanimous opposition from all five major unions of Coal India Limited — Indian National Trade Union Congress, All India Trade Union Congress, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Hind Mazdoor Sangh, as well as the BJP-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the coal ordinance is in the eye of a storm.

The ordinance stated: “The government and private companies may carry on coal mining operations in India in any form either for own consumption, sale or for any other purpose in accordance with the prospecting licence or mining lease as the case maybe.”

Singhvi said this temporary legislation would spell far-reaching consequences for its provision that gives a free run to private sector in coal mining.

“It is only a matter of time before most of our coal sector is going to be privatised and that too by stealth and that too by ordinance and this is the reason why 5 lakh workers in this country headed and led government wants to wish it away,” he said.

The government, Singhvi said, has made it a habit to bypass the parliament and go the ordinance route instead.

“This government legislates by stealth, it makes policy surreptitiously. Everything in this country is run by ordinance these days. We seem to have no parliament, we seem to have no patience, we seem to have no budget session.”


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