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Hurdles to biometric plan

Durgapur, Aug. 21: Over 1,500 miners and clerical staff of Eastern Coalfields Ltd’s largest mine by output struck work for three days to protest the company’s decision to replace the manual attendance system with a biometric one to prevent proxy attendance.

The ceasework at Jhanjra Colliery in Durgapur was lifted today after the management assured the ECL unions that the biometric system would be introduced in all mines in phases.

ECL sources said the biometric attendance system, in which an employee’s retina is checked, was introduced as a section of workers allegedly marked themselves present even though they remained absent and also manipulated entry time in collusion with some attendance clerks.

The striking workers had demanded that the company either revert to the manual attendance system or start the biometric procedure at all 105 mines together. Because of the three-day ceasework at Jhanjra, which produces 4,500 tonnes of coal a day, ECL lost Rs 6.7 crore, company sources said.

“The new system will be introduced in all the three units of Jhanjra Colliery within a month. In the rest of the mines, biometric attendance will be started in phases,” said Niladri Roy, the general manager (technical) of ECL.