All eyes on Singareni union elections

Hyderabad, Oct 01: All eyes are on Singareni employees’elections to be held on October 5 as the outcome is expected to have wider political ramifications in north Telangana.

The poll result will be significant in at least 12 districts where employees of Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) have deep roots.

More than 53,000 employees are eligible to cast their vote in the direct contest between the two unions – one backed by the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and other by a united opposition.

Congress Party, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Communist Party of India (CPI) have joined hands to defeat TRS backed Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS).

TBGKS is facing a stiff challenge from AITUC of CPI, which is backed by Congress’s INTUC and TDP’s TNTUC.

Hindu Mazdoor Sangh, BJP’s BMS, Communist Party of India-Marxist’s CITU and other unions are also contesting the elections.

In 2012, TBGKS won the SCCL union election. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who announced a bonanza for the employees on Friday, is confident that TBGKS would win the second consecutive election and thus extend TRS’ winning streak.

On the other hand, barring BJP and CPI (M), all the opposition parties have come together to give tough fight to TBGKS.

The opposition parties alleged that KCR has deployed all his ministers and senior leaders in the poll campaign as he had sensed the growing resentment among the SCCL workers towards the State government.

State Congress chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that the ruling party is using liquor and money to lure the voters. He along with TDP’s state unit working president A. Revanth Reddy and CPI state secretary Chada Venkat Reddy campaigned

They ridiculed the promises made by KCR to the Singareni workers and said he was hoodwinking them for one-more time to win trade union polls.

“KCR had made many promises to various sections of people including the SCCL workers during the 2014 polls. Not a single promise has been implemented so far,” said Revanth Reddy.

The opposition leaders claimed that coalmines employees are getting ready to teach a befitting lesson to TBGKS.

Leaving no stone unturned to wrestle a victory in Singareni, TRS chief declared a Dasara bonanza for coal mine staff. He announced that his government will protect dependant jobs and provide jobs to kin of employees on ‘compassionate’ grounds. The issue assumed importance in the run-up to elections after courts struck down the state proposal to grant jobs to kin of staff who take retirement on medical grounds.

Reiterating his allegation that Congress stalled the implementation of the scheme by approaching courts, KCR announced change in nomenclature for dependent employment to compassionate or compensatory appointments to overcome legal hurdles.

TRS chief promised that performance linked bonus will be increased from Rs.54,000 to Rs.57,000 per employee while Dasara bonus will be enhanced from Rs.18,000 to Rs.25,000 per employee.

He promised interest free home loan up to Rs.6 lakh. Claiming that 7,000 new jobs were provided since TRS came to power in 2014, he assured the employees that more underground mines will be opened.

He also announced a big financial package to employees, wanting to retire on medical grounds and those who don’t want a job for dependants. He declared a ‘general amnesty’ for those facing allegations of impersonation.

The AITUC, on the other hand, is assuring employees that if they come into power, they would obstruct privatisation of mines, provide interest free loans for construction of houses to all employees, ban income tax for employees, reduce working hours to and implementation of wage board.

Congress leader Uttam Kumar Reddy said the TRS government was not serious on restoring dependent jobs scheme and hence it issued a faulty order in this regard. “In order to cover up his government’s inefficiency in reviving dependent jobs scheme, the Chief Minister KCR is putting the blame on the Congress Party,” he said while clarifying that no Congress worker has filed petitions in courts challenging the dependent jobs scheme.

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