The five-day coal strike entered its second day on Wednesday, causing production loss of an estimated Rs 300 crore, amid growing fears of a possible power crisis in the event of thermal plants running out of fuel supplies.While the talks resumed between the government and the trade unions to end the strike — which is being billed as the biggest industrial action in nearly four decades — nearly five lakh workers, including that of PSU behemoth Coal India Ltd (CIL), remained off-work at coal mines across the country.Top officials from states, including in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, expressed apprehensions that power supplies may be hit if the strike continues further, while executives at power companies also said they may run out of the emergency fuel supplies if coal production remains stalled.Officials said the strike has impacted over 75% of the daily coal output of 1.5 million tonnes, with 290 out of 438 CIL coal mines being hit. There were reports of clashes between workers and police in Jharkhand and West Bengal.The strike call was given by all five major trade unions, including BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, against “disinvestment in Coal India and denationalisation of coal mining”. After talks between Coal Secretary Anil Swarup and union leaders failed to yield any results late last night, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal and CIL Chairman Sutirtha Bhattacharya on Wednesday met representatives of trade unions to find an amicable solution to end the strike.There are concerns that the strike may severely hit fuel supply to over 100 thermal power plants across the country, as the emergency coal arrangements may not last long. Unions alleged that CIL management was trying to bring in temporary workers to operate the 290 shut mines.After Tuesday’s failed conciliatory talks, which continued till late in night, the workers’ representatives said they wanted political leadership to come to the negotiating table. “Production at various mines has been severely hit and monetary loss due to it could be over Rs 300 crore so far,” a senior official said.CIL could produce only about 0.2 million tonnes on Wednesday, while it was 0.22 million tonnes on Tuesday. Production was also hit at Singareni Collieries mines that produces around 0.1 million tonnes a day. Industry bodies, including Assocham and PHD Chamber, said that the strike could impact industrial growth across the country, especially in power-deficient northern and southern regions, resulting in long unplanned outages.

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On 2nd day of coal strike production losses mount to Rs 300 crore