Indian coal miners return to work after 51-day shutdown

22 May 2020 (Last Updated May 22nd, 2020 10:39)

The Singareni Collieries Corporation Company Limited (SCCL), an Indian state-owned miner operating projects in the south-central state of Telangana, has announced that almost two-thirds of employees returned to work on Thursday, following a 51-day suspension of activities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company, which employs around 48,000 people across its 27 mines, claimed that 60,000 tonnes of coal production were lost during the shutdown, and has been eager to restart work following significant disruption to its operations. Just five of the company’s mines remained open during the shutdown, and these were only working at half capacity, as SCCL tried to enforce social distancing measures to limit the spread of Covid-19.

SCCL has implemented a number of safety measures at its reopened mines, including building hand-washing stations and requiring workers to wear masks when heading underground, as the government tries to cope with the growing pandemic. According to Worldometers, India has the 11th-most cases of Covid-19 in the world, with over 119,000, and has struggled to provide tests for its vast population, with just 1,973 tests per million people.