On the first day of the indefinite strike by Neyveli Lignite Corporation's workers, the mining and electricity generation company has managed to sustain operations at near normal levels, according to official sources. Power generation was at about 2,200 MW out of a total capacity of about 2,490 MW but coal mining has been hit.
Trade union sources said that power generation has been sustained with the available lignite stored in the bunkers and will come down in stages in the coming days. Workers' participation is near total but engineers and officers have not participated in the strike to protest the proposed five per cent divestment of the Union Government's stake in the public sector enterprise.
According to official data of the Tamil Nadu electricity utility, the State continues to get its normal share of over 1,000 MW from the power stations in Neyveli. On Thursday the peak load in Tamil Nadu was about 11,374 MW against 11,191 MW on Wednesday.
According to sources, the TNEB can manage the situation as any shortfall from Neyveli can be made up with standby power from independent power producers – the total capacity available from this source is about 1,150 MW of which just about one-third capacity is being utilised.
Wind energy has also kicked in and the power situation can be managed. However, a sustained drop from Neyveli could prove an issue eventually, sources said.
S. Rajavannian, General Secretary, Neyveli Labour Progressive Federation, said over 4,500 engineers and officer cadre employees have not joined in the protest though they had expressed solidarity with the workers' stand against disinvestment. But well over 20,000 workers are participating in the protest.
G. Kuppuswamy, President, CITU-NLC, said power generation can be managed for a limited period with fuel available in the bunkers. But will come down in stages unless the issue is resolved.
Union sources said they were also examining the legal options in the context of the Madras High Court order against workers going on strike.