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Coal India executives seek govt intervention on pay demand

Officials of Coal India Ltd have sought the government's intervention for early Cabinet approval of performance-linked pay (PRP), a demand for which they had gone on strike last month.

The executives, who started a three-day strike on March 13, called it off a day later after the management assured them it would push for early placement of their demand for performance-linked pay before the Cabinet.

The management had also said the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) had already made a recommendation to approach the Cabinet for modifications with regard to PRP.

"It is our request that the note pertaining to PRP may kindly be placed before the Cabinet for approval," the Coal Mines Officers' Association of India (CMOAI) said in a letter to Coal Secretary S K Srivastava. "Subsequent to the minutes of CoS meet, a Cabinet note was prepared by Ministry of Coal for approval of Cabinet. However, considering the code of conduct in place, the same was forwarded to the Election Commission," CMOAI Secretary General P K Singh said in the letter.

The CMOAI said the Election Commission has already made it clear that such permissions are secondary in cases where budget provision have already been made.

"Seventy-five percent advance payment has already been made in the previous four years and regular provision of fund is also being made in accounts by CIL," the CMOAI said in the case of its demand for PRP.

"It is a matter of pain that such long demand for payment of PRP and pension has not been finalised in case of Coal India whereas the same is finalised already in other PSUs/Maharatna companies," it added, demanding that the coal ministry facilitate Cabinet approval of their demand.

Coal India Chairman S Narsing Rao said last month that the CoS had recommended approaching the Cabinet but "since the elections are around the corner, the government needs to go to the Election Commission on the issue."

The management had sought four to five weeks for a final decision as "the Cabinet will only approve the proposal if the Election Commission agrees to it," Rao said.

The CMOAI has drawn the Coal Ministry's attention to a letter by the Election Commission, which says it has no objection in case of ministries seeking clearance on financial matters while the model code of conduct is in force.

The letter says the amounts earmarked for such works need to be parked separately and the proposals are "subject to the condition that the implementation of the same is taken up after the election is over."

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