The steering committee of the central trade unions met at Ranchi and served a joint notice on the token strike in the coal industry including Coal India and Singareni Collieries, Secretary General of Indian National Mine Workers' Federation S Q Zama said.
    
The call for the strike, which coincides with the opening day of Parliament, came ten days after the government issued an ordinance to e-auction coal blocks enabling private sector firms, barring those convicted for offences related to mines allotment, to bid. The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance 2014, got Presidential nod on October 21.
    
The unions, which also included INTUC, CITU, AITUC and HMS, demanded scrapping of the enabling clause for commercial mining by private players and stopping of further disinvestment and restructuring of CIL.
    
The unions are also seeking first preference to CIL and its subsidiaries before auctioning of any coal block, besides steps to revive units like Dankuni Coal Complex, CIL subsidiary Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL) and Assam's North Eastern Coalfields.
    
Left parties have also opposed the ordinance, with AITUC General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta earlier saying the decision of the government on coal blocks "has a covert implication. It is a back-door entry for taking over the entire coal sector by the private corporates".
    
All India Coal Workers Federation General Secretary Jibon Roy had also warned of nationwide protests if the government implemented any enabling provision to allow commercial mining by private companies.
    
The Supreme Court had last month quashed allotment of 214 coal mines to various companies since 1993 on the ground that they were done in an illegal manner by an "ad-hoc and casual" approach "without application of mind".
    
Allocation of coal blocks became a political issue after Comptroller and Auditor General alleged arbitrariness and absence of any criteria in the screening process and pegged notional loss to the exchequer at Rs 1.86 lakh crore.

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