New Delhi: Illegal mining, increased mafia operations and strike by a section of workers have brought production to a standstill at many mines of ECL, causing a loss of about Rs 30 crore a month, a senior official said.

"Production at company's many mines, including North Seyarsole, Bansda and Narayankudi, has come to a grinding halt due to illegal mining and mafia operations, which of late have further aggravated. This has resulted in production loss of over 3,000 tonnes a day, estimated at Rs 1 crore daily," a senior Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) official said.

Even as the company is battling with problems, 215 workers engaged in North Seyarsole have also gone on strike as illegal mining led to flooding in the mine, the official added.

"All attempts to persuade them to work at nearby Bansda mines have failed resulting in not only production loss of 3,000 tonnes a day at North Seyarsole but 150 tonnes a day at Bansda," he said.

Attempts to depute them at other working collieries have also failed.

The company, which is one of the seven wholly owned subsidiaries of Coal India (CIL) and has operations in West Bengal and some parts of Jharkhand, had said last week that it was incurring a loss to the tune of Rs 12 crore a month.

"Many productive mines ... have come to standstill. Due to continuous disruptions caused by coal mafia and anti-social elements near Raniganj in West Bengal, 40,000 tonnes of coal production is being hampered every month," ECL had said.

"The amount of loss caused due to stopping of production can be very well judged through two mines of Narayankudi and North Seyarsole, where company is accounting a loss of Rs 120 million every month. Government is also incurring huge loss of revenue in the form of royalty," it had said.

The company said it has already reported the matter of "forcible stopping of production and illegal mining" to the local administration a number of times. If the "situation is not controlled in time it may worsen the financial condition of ECL which is already in losses", it added.

Earlier, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had said that his ministry is committed to eliminating coal mafia and bringing an end its nexus with corrupt officials.

He had said that the crackdown on coal mafia would be intensified to weed out the evil out from the system as about 10,000 mafia groups operated in the country mostly concentrated in CIL collieries causing huge a loss to the exchequer due annual plunder of about 6 million tonnes.

(Agencies)