We Have Not Retrenched Even A Single Staff: Sauvick Mazumdar, CEO, Vedanta Sesa Goa Iron Ore
The biggest challenge has been to motivate employees and keep the work momentum going with limited operations, limited workforce, and maintaining all health protocols
India’s mining sector has been in a depressed state for quite some time. BW Businessworld’s Ashish Sinha caught up with Sauvick Mazumdar, CEO, Vedanta Sesa Goa Iron Ore, country’s largest producer and exporter of iron ore, to discuss the impact of the lockdown on operations and challenges in restarting work.
How is your company coping with the lockdown?
Vedanta Sesa Goa Iron Ore has been India’s largest producer and exporter of iron ore (pre-mining ban) in the private sector and amongst the lowest-cost producer of iron ore in the country. With operations in Goa and Karnataka and a project site in Liberia, West Africa, we have about six decades of expertise in exploration, mining and processing of iron ore. All our operations across Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand were suspended from March 22, 2020, onwards in the wake of the Janata Curfew followed by nationwide lockdowns except for very limited operations for the upkeep of safety in a continuous industrial process (as per MHA guidelines).
How important is people’s safety in and around the mining operations?
Vedanta is fully committed to the safety of the people and their families as they are a part of Vedanta Sesa Goa Iron Ore’s extended family and communities around us. We take all responsible actions and follow mandated safety protocols issued by various authorities in order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. We are fully compliant with the required safety and precautionary measures and shall continue to abide by all further advisories as mandated by various health authorities and law. We remain fully committed to ensure the safety of our people, environment, all our stakeholders and the communities around.
Have you been given permission to restart operations?
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs vide its respective orders dated March 24, 25 and 29 issued guidelines allowing industrial establishments which require continuous process, mineral production, movement of goods/cargo for inland and exports amongst others to operate during the lockdown, after obtaining the required permission from the state government concerned. Vedanta’s Sesa Goa iron ore business, which is categorised as an industry requiring continuous process, resumed limited operations in all locations in stages after obtaining necessary permissions from the respective state government authorities.
How many people are employed with the company?
We directly employ more than 2,500 individuals at all our operational locations. We have not retrenched even a single staff despite the crisis. During the lockdown, we were operating with very minimal staff as per government guidelines and have provided work-from-home facility to all other colleagues.
What are the challenges being faced in restarting operations at your manufacturing units?
The biggest challenge has been to motivate employees and keep the work momentum going with limited operations, limited workforce and maintaining all health protocols viz social distancing, use of PPEs etc. Even after the lockdown, we will ensure strict adherence to precautionary measures.