States & UTs

    High-Level Probe Ordered Into NTPC Unchahar Plant Explosion

    April20/ 2022
    Last Updated:

    Rae Bareli/Lucknow: Union Minister of State for Power R K Singh on Thursday announced high-level inquiry into NTPC's Feroz Gandhi Unchahar Thermal power station boiler blast and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 20 lakh to the families of the deceased as the death toll reached 30.

    However, the toll is likely to go up as several injured were in critical condition in various hospitals.
    Five critically injured people succumbed to their injuries at government hospitals in Lucknow late on Wednesday night and Thursday. Still more than 60 critically injured were being treated at different hospitals in Lucknow.
    The boiler tube of the newly commissioned sixth unit of 500 MW exploded on Wednesday.
    Mr Singh reached Unchahar, amid shouting of anti-NTPC slogans by the protestors at the gate. He was accompanied by UP Power Minister Srikant Sharma.
    The Union minister announced that a high-level inquiry has been ordered and the probe panel will submit its report in 20 days. "A team under the NTPC technical director would probe the reason behind the incident and report back to the government in 20 days," he said.
    He also announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 20 lakh for the deceased and Rs 10 lakh for the critically injured. "The entire ex-gratia amount would be paid by NTPC," he said.
    Several NTPC workers and their family members had assembled near the gate of the plant in Unchahar and were raising slogans against the organisation. They also alleged that the tragedy was a result of negligence on the part of the authorities.
    Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Raj Babbar, met the injured at Rae Bareli district hospital and later visited the power plant at Unchahar. He later departed for Gujarat, where he is campaigning for the party. Mr Azad demanded a thorough probe into the incident and said those responsible for the incident should be brought to book. Mr Babbar pointed out that Congress vice-president had cut short his Gujarat tour because he was concerned about the welfare of people of his mother Sonia Gandhi's constituency, Rae Bareli.
    The Congress president had on Wednesday expressed grief and said that she could not visit the relatives of the dead and injured as she herself was not keeping good health.
    UP chief secretary Rajiv Kumar, who visited the injured at Civil Hospital in Lucknow confirmed 30 people have died so far.
    He said the state government will provide all medical facilities to the injured and if required, they will be sent to New Delhi by air ambulances.
    Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, who is supervising the relief and rescue operations said that providing relief was top priority. He said the NTPC was probing the incident and even the Rae Bareli district administration has ordered a magisterial probe. "We will have to wait for the findings of the probe," he said.
    INTUC national president Ashok Singh alleged that there was lapse on the part of the NTPC authorities. "After talking with the employees and others, I found that plant was generating power without work being complete and safety protocol were totally ignored. There is a need for a high-level probe."
    The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) on Thursday demanded a high-level inquiry into the explosion at Unchahar plant of NTPC.
    Expressing concern over casualties, AIPEF chairman Shailendra Dubey said here that an inquiry was needed and the safety factor should not be compromised at any cost.
    The inquiry would help ascertain the cause of the blast, which in turn would help in planning safety measures to avert such disasters in the future and prevent loss of valuable lives of employees and engineers.
    The rescue operation was suspended on Wednesday night even after arrival of the NDRF team from Lucknow, but resumed on Thursday morning.
    In Lucknow, Civil Hospital chief medical superintendent Ashutosh Dubey told UNI that six people died at the hospital during the treatment while one was brought dead.
    He said 31 people being treated at the hospital were in critical condition having suffered 60-90 per cent burn injuries.
    KGMU Trauma centre in-charge Dr S N Shankwar said that 11 patients were being treated in his hospital.
    The unit, set up by the state-run BHEL and NTPC, was yet to start its commercial operation and was on a trial run when this accident took place. The victims were mostly contractual workers engaged in construction work of the boiler.
    According to an eyewitness, a big explosion rocked the campus with black smoke engulfing the unit. There were around 500 workers working in the power plant at the time of the incident. Most of the victims were burnt alive and could not be identified. Among the critically injured were three AGM-rank officials of the NTPC, identified as Sanjeev Sharma, Prabhat Srivastava and Mishrilal.
    The blast was reportedly triggered in the duct that was connected to the boiler which is used for transferring ash of burnt coal. It is believed that the ash pipe got choked, causing the blast.
    Apart from huge accumulation of ash in the furnace, the problem could also have been aggravated when the coal powder that is pumped into the furnace develops a 'clinker formation'.
    As workers were engaged in breaking the clinkers, the coal supply got disrupted and that disturbed the pressure, raising it to +350 mmwc from normal pressure of +/-5 mmwc into the boiler, which started vibrating before bursting from corner number 2.UNI

    Categories :States & UTsTags :