"There was no production and dispatch of coal from any of the two fields run by Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), a CIL subsidiary. Workers did not join the first shift at 6.00 AM", MCL public relations officer Dikken Mehera told media.

MCL, with its headquarters in the town of Burla in Sambalpur district, about 340 km from here, operates 15 open cast and six underground mines in the state.

With a daily output is estimated at 400,000 tonnes, it supplies coal to a number of power companies in south India and Odisha, including the state power utility NTPC, Talcher Thermal Power Station and aluminium-maker Nalco.

Coal India has near monopoly over country's coal production, accounting for nearly 82 percent of the domestic output.

The five major trade unions backing the strike - Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Confederation of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and Hind Mazdoor Sangh - represent almost 90 percent of Coal India's half-a-million workforce.

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