Bermo, Oct. 23: The month-long coal transport strike, which forced shutdown of a unit each at two thermal power plants, dealt multi-crore blows to three CCL collieries and kept a workforce of 50,000 out of job, ended today after the district administration agreed to jack up ferrying costs.
While it has been decided that the cost of transporting coal and ash would be increased on a par with market rates within a month, the administration has refused to accept a second demand to allow overloading.
A fleet of 1,500 trucks and other coal carriers had slammed their brakes from September 21 following a crackdown on overloaded vehicles by new Bermo SDO Rahul Kumar Sinha. Complaints of air pollution and road damage had prompted Sinha to undertake the drive, which even raked in revenue of Rs 12 lakh in penalty under the Motor Vehicles Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act (1984).
Angry transporters demanded that either overloaded trucks be allowed to ply in Bermo or the cost of ferrying coal be revised in their favour. Since most transporation businesses in Bermo are controlled by close kin of senior Congress, BJP and JMM leaders, there was no way the strike could be cushioned.
An SOS was sent to chief minister Hemant Soren to regulate supply. He prodded Bokaro deputy commissioner Uma Shankar Singh into action after which talks were held. Deputy collector R.K. Rai said another meeting would be convened on November 23 to review the new rates.