NTPC plant unrest may leave State powerless

NTPC plant unrest may leave State powerless

NTPC plant unrest may leave State powerless

Electricity supply to southern states, including Karnataka, may be hit because of a sudden disruption in power generation at the 3,000-MW plant of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), located at Kaniha near the coal township of Talcher in Odisha’s Angul district.

Power production in the plant has been affected following non-supply of coal from the nearby mines run by the Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), a subsidiary of the government-run Coal India Limited (CIL), after violence erupted and tension prevailed in the area, leading to closure of the mines.

Last Friday, a group of striking labourers, who had been thrown out of their jobs by a newly appointed coal contractor, went berserk and ransacked the MCL’s local office, besides setting on fire as many as 40-50 vehicles.

The incident led to heavy tension in the area, which further intensified following the arrest of Talcher's independent MLA B K Pradhan in connection with the violence.

The Angul police picked the legislator in the state capital on Saturday evening. He was taken to Talcher immediately and produced in a local court, which sent him to 14 days of judicial custody after rejecting his bail plea.

As tension intensified in the area following the MLA’s arrest, the Angul district administration promulgated prohibitory orders in Talcher and its adjoining areas on Sunday morning.

There has also been heavy police deployment for maintenance of law and order. Mining and transport of coal have come to a grinding halt because of these developments.

If sources in Talcher are to be believed, the NTPC authorities have already shut down three of its six 500-MW units because of coal shortage.

Power production is likely to be affected further if there is no improvement in the law and order situation in the area.

Sources said NTPC has already incurred a loss of more than Rs 50 crore due to the unrest. The MCL’s loss is pegged at more than Rs 21 crore.

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