‘Alarming’ levels of mercury contamination found in Singrauli

Findings corroborated by All India Institute of Ayurveda come ahead of World Environment DayAlso in this section

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 4

Ahead of the World Environment Day on June 5 and close on the heels of violent anti-Sterlite protests at Thoothukudi, another alarming update on pollution is coming — this time from the Singrauli region on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and by none other than a government agency.A study by the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) in the 300-km area of Sonbhadra district has discovered alarming levels of mercury contamination in hair and nails of villagers as well as in soil and plants tested.

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The study refers and infers upon several other studies done in the past, including water testing and analysis of soil and biological sampling of hair, blood and nails, where heavy metals such as mercury were detected, says a statement by the AIIA.Soil was found to be contaminated in all directions, where coal-fired power plants are operational and cadmium, lead, arsenic and nickel were detected. It is important to note that several studies in the past by CSE in 2012 and PSI in 2009 have over the years indicated a persistent problem of pollution in the region.

According to reports, yesterday more than 900 persons from across the region collected at the Myorepur block in Singrauli to submit their concerns in the light of the report and the recent report submitted by the NGT Core Committee which clearly asked for a moratorium to be implemented on all further expansion in the region as per the guidelines of the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) until the pollution abatement measures are under implementation.A case was filed by Jagat Narayan Vishwakarma and Ashwini Kumar Dubey, asking for justice for the affected communities and the environment in the district.The National Green Tribunal’s case came to an end earlier this year with an order to install air quality monitoring stations and filtration plants for water with a suggestion on several pollution abatement measures.

The final report submitted by the core committee before the closure order by the NGT has clearly called for a moratorium on expansion of coal and other industrial activities in the region until the problem of pollution is under control. The committee further asked for the implementation of the comprehensive environmental pollution index (CEPI) in the region. Singrauli has an action plan in place to control and manage pollution. However, the locals claim it has never seen light.

Notably, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has declared Singrauli as a critically polluted area in 2009 but till date, there is no information in public domain on the air pollution levels nor are the citizens aware of any safety measures that are to be taken. More than 249 villages have been declared affected by pollution in the region. Sonbadhra is part of the Singrauli region bordering Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and was declared critically polluted in 2009. A moratorium was passed on further expansion in the region which was subsequently lifted in 2011. The region generated 22GW of coal-fired energy for the country every day, close to 15% of India’s energy needs.

During 2009-10, the CPCB in collaboration with IIT-D, had carried out a comprehensive environmental assessment of 88 industrial clusters and rated them on the concept of Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI).The evaluated CEPI scores reflect the environmental quality of these industrial clusters and also served as a yardstick to assess the progress achieved in the implementation of action plans. Out of the 88 clusters, 43 critically polluted areas (CPAs) in 16 states with a CEPI score of 70 and above were identified as seriously polluted areas (SPAs).

India, today, has a problem of massive air pollution spread across the country, the draft National Clean Air Action Plan (NCAP) formulated by the Ministry does not take into account the critically polluted regions spread across the country.

Most of the CEPI regions in central India are dominated by coal powered plants that are yet to install the necessary emission control infrastructure that limits their contribution to the growing pollution levels.

The Ministry in 2015 notified new emission control norms for coal power plants with effect from December 7, 2017, which will mean retrofitting and upgrading the existing plants and ensuring that the new build complies, however, with no progress made on that front, the ministry has now asked for an extended deadline of 2022.

Thermal Power Plants are one of the biggest polluters in India and in the Indo-Gangetic Plain, more than 1,15,000 persons  die prematurely every year from their deadly emissions and unregulated use of coal remains one of the biggest threats to air quality in the National Capital Region, reports say.


Delhi HC rejects Reliance Power’s plea to mine coal beyond approved cap

Reliance Power had argued that the existing cap on coal mining was not enough to run its 3,960 megawatt Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project in Madhya Pradesh

Photo: HT

Photo: HT

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Wednesday rejected Reliance Power Ltd’s plea seeking permission to mine coal from the Moher and Moher-Amlohri blocks beyond the approved limit of 17 million tonnes per annum (MTPA).

Reliance Power had argued that the existing cap on coal mining was not enough to run its 3,960 megawatt Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) in Madhya Pradesh, and if the additional 2 MTPA was not allowed it could face the “threat of a shutdown”.

It also said that the additional amount will help it to maintain a buffer stock 1.25 million tonnes of coal for meeting any exigency, which might disrupt coal production, PTI reported.

Reliance Power’s pleas claimed that a shutdown of the power project would result in a loss of Rs130 crore for the company, while the discoms would have to shell out more than Rs200 crore to purchase power from other sellers to provide electricity to its consumers.

The plea was part of a writ petition filed by Reliance Power in 2015, challenging the Centre’s decision to cancel one of the three coal blocs — the Chhatrasal coal block in Madhya Pradesh — allocated to Sasan.

Sasan UMPP, which comprises six units of 669 MW each, is the world’s largest integrated power generation and coal mining project. The power project aims to provide reliable and low-cost power for 25 years to more than 42 crore people across seven states.

Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.

Massive fire at Anpara Thermal Power Station in UP’s Sonebhadra district

Several fire tenders were rushed to the site to douse the flames and power supply was restored around 7 am on Tuesday, an official said.

INDIA Updated: May 29, 2018 16:19 IST

Press Trust of India, Sonebhadra/Lucknow
The Anpara Thermal Power Station is located on the banks of the Rihand reservoir in Anpara of Sonbhadra district.
The Anpara Thermal Power Station is located on the banks of the Rihand reservoir in Anpara of Sonbhadra district.(ANI/Twitter)
A major fire broke out in the switch yard of the Anpara Thermal Power Station in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonebhadra district, leading to a power crisis in the area, an official said on Tuesday.

There were no reports of any casualty after the fire, which started around 10.30 pm on Monday, said UP Power Transmission Corporation Limited Managing Director Amit Gupta.

Several fire tenders were rushed to the site to douse the flames and supply was restored around 7 am on Tuesday, he said.

The fire broke out in the switch yard when power supply was restored after it had to be shut off due to a thunderstorm.

Due to the blaze and a resulting technical slag, the 400 KV line between Obra and Sonebhadra was shut down, leading to a power crisis in the region, he said.

The Anpara Thermal Power Station is located on the banks of the Rihand reservoir in Anpara of Sonbhadra district.

It has a total of nine units and a power generation capacity of 3,830 MW.





Sasan plant may shut down in March for lack of coal: Reliance Power tells Delhi HC

The threat of a shutdown is looming large over the operation of Reliance Power’s 3,960 megawatt power project in Madhya Pradesh if it is not allowed to mine coal in excess of the cap set by the Centre, the company told Delhi High Court today.

The threat of a shutdown is looming large over the operation of Reliance Power’s 3,960 megawatt power project in Madhya Pradesh if it is not allowed to mine coal in excess of the cap set by the Centre, the company told Delhi High Court today.

Sasan Power Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance, moved an application before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, contending that the cap of 17 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) on mining from its two coal blocks Moher and Moher-Amlohri blocks was not enough to carry out operations until the end of this financial year.

It said the approved quantity of coal would not meet the requirement for running the plant for the last 10 days of March this year, severely affecting 42 crore consumers.

 The company has contended that if it was not allowed to mine another 2 MTPA, that is up to 19 MTPA, in this financial year, it will not be able to meet the requirements of its Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) that supplies electricity to 14 discoms in seven states.\

Such a situation will also entail a loss of around Rs 130 crore for the company, while the discoms would have to shell out more than Rs 200 crore to purchase power from other sellers to provide electricity to their 42 crore consumers, it claimed.

The company said in its plea that it supplied electricity under a 25-year long term power purchase agreement on a tariff of Rs 1.196 per kWh to 14 discoms across the states of Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

In its application seeking permission to mine 19 MTPA, Sasan has contended that this will also help it to maintain additional stock of coal of 1.25 million tonne for meeting any exigency which might disrupt coal production.

It has also claimed that it has exhausted most of its accumulated stock last year to run its plant when it had to stop mining after hitting the 17 MTPA cap.

The application was submitted in the main writ petition filed by Reliance Power and Sasan challenging the Centre’s May 7, 2015, decision to cancel one of the three coal blocks allocated to Sasan UMPP.

The government had justified the cancellation saying the unit’s coal requirement could be met by the other two mines, Moher and Moher-Amlohri extension in Madhya Pradesh.

Sasan project is an integrated power plant-cum-coal mining project at a single location, involving an investment of over Rs 27,000 crore, Reliance has said in its petition.

Twenty-Two Killed, 100 Injured as Boiler Explodes at NTPC’s Unchahar Plant


New Delhi: A boiler in the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Unchahar plant in Rae Bareli exploded on Wednesday (November 1), leaving 22 people dead and close to 100 injured.

According to Uttar Pradesh police ADG (law and order) Anand Kumar, the toll from the explosion could rise further as people are feared to be trapped inside the plant.

The boiler pipe burst in the 500 MW power-generating unit that began operating in March, NDTV reported. A massive fire broke out and a large ball of dust rose after the explosion, making rescue difficult, the channel said.

“…there was sudden abnormal sound at 20 mt. elevation and there was an opening…from which hot flue gases and steam escaped affecting the people working around the area,” NDTV quoted NTPC as saying in a statement.

Chief minister Adityanath, who is away in Mauritius on a three-day official visit, ordered that necessary steps be taken for rescue and relief. “The chief minister has taken cognisance of the Unchahar accident and has directed principal secretary (home) to ensure that all steps are taken for rescue and relief,” principal secretary (information) Awanish Awasthi, who is accompanying Adityanath, said.

NTPC said in a statement, according to NDTV, “An unfortunate accident in the boiler of 500MW under trial unit of NTPC – Unchahar occurred this afternoon”.

The injured are being rushed to nearby hospitals, police have said. The district administration rushed ambulances to the plant and directed health officials to provide prompt treatment to the injured. A National Disaster Response Force team has also been sent to help with the rescue efforts.

The coal-fired plant is owned by India’s biggest power utility NTPC Ltd, and police officer Dhananjay Singh said the plant, has now been shut down.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted to say officials were ensuring that normalcy is restored.

Deeply pained by the accident at the NTPC plant in Raebareli. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. The situation is being closely monitored & officials are ensuring normalcy is restored: PM @narendramodi

(With PTI inputs)


NTPC blast due to pressure to start unit ahead of schedule?


The Unchahar power plant where the blast took place

All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) suspects safety standards were compromised in the company’s haste to operationalise unit a year ahead of schedule

Did officials of NTPC compromise on safety resulting in the accident in which 30 workers, most of them casual workers, lost their lives and 66 others received burns, some of them over 70 per cent, and are struggling for their lives at the Unchahar Thermal Power Plant?

Questions are being raised whether the unit no. 6 of the Unchahar Thermal Power plant was ready for trial. Was the operation cleared by the competent authority or did the NTPC board or chairman force officials to start operations without allowing a “cooling period” for the plant to settle down?

Electrical engineers NH spoke to said that normally it takes a new, thermal unit three and a half years to four years to become operational. But at Unchahar, this particular unit was being pushed to become operational in two and a half years. Was the NTPC chairman also under pressure, they wondered.

“The admission that around 150-200 people were working in the boiler section at the time of the accident is a clear indication that work in the plant was not complete. In a running plant only 5-6 people work at a time in that section. Why were so many people working there ?” asks Shailendra Dubey, Chairman, All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) .

Safety factors should not be compromised in the company’s rush to complete projects ahead of schedule, the engineers say. The AIPEF has demanded a high level independent enquiry in the whole matter so that such type of incident may not occure in future, he said.

The blast was reportedly triggered in the duct 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 also got aggravated when the coal powder which was pumped into the furnace developed a `clinker formation’ .As workers were engaged to break the clinkers, the coal supply got disrupted. This disturbed the pressure which rose to +350 mmwc from the normal pressure of +/-5 mmwc into the boiler which started vibrating before bursting from corner number 2, an engineer tried to explain.

“The formation of coal clinkers often causes serious problem for smooth working of a power plant,” confirmed Dubey. He said that the boiler has enormous pressure which needs to be maintained with smooth flow of coal.

He said that AIPEF would be submitting a memorandum to Central Power Minister R K Singh demanding strict adherence of safety measures in running the power plants.

Meanwhile, four critically injured workers succumbed to their injuries at different government hospitals in Lucknow late last night taking the toll to 30. Still more than 60 critically injured were admitted at different hospitals.

Principal secretary (home) Arvind Kumar said that 19 people died in Rae Bareli while the rest died in different hospitals including in Lucknow.

The victims were mostly contractual workers engaged in construction work of the boiler.

According to an eye witness, a big explosion rocked the campus with black smoke engulfing the unit. There were around 1150 worker working in the power plant at the time of the incident. Most of the deceased were burnt alive.

According to the reports, the plant was on a trial run and generating 200 Megawatts of power which was not yet being supplied to the grid.

एनटीपीसी हादसा पीड़ितों में 30 की मौत, 200 से ज्यादा झुलसे लोगों का हो रहा उपचार

Publish Date:Wed, 01 Nov 2017 04:49 PM (IST) | Updated Date:Thu, 02 Nov 2017 10:48 PM (IST)

एनटीपीसी हादसा पीड़ितों में 30 की मौत, 200 से ज्यादा झुलसे लोगों का हो रहा उपचारएनटीपीसी हादसा पीड़ितों में 30 की मौत, 200 से ज्यादा झुलसे लोगों का हो रहा उपचार
एनटीपीसी ऊंचाहार में बॉयलर फटने से कम से कम 30 लोगों की मौत हो गई है और 200 से ज्यादा लोग झुलस गए हैं। यूपी सीएम ने पीड़ितों के लिए मदद की घोषणा की है।

रायबरेली (जेएनएन)।  एनटीपीसी ऊंचाहार की छठी यूनिट में बुधवार शाम बिजली उत्पादन के दौरान ब्वॉयलर में विस्फोट हो गया। दो सौ से ज्यादा श्रमिक, कर्मचारी व अधिकारी दहकती राख की चपेट में आ गए। विस्फोट में 30 लोगों के मरने की प्रमुख सचिव (गृह) अरविंद कुमार ने पुष्टि की है। उन्होंने बताया कि 200 से ज्यादा घायलों को विभिन्न अस्पतालों में भर्ती कराया गया है, जिनमें कई की हालत नाजुक है। अब भी बड़ी संख्या में श्रमिकों के राख में दबे होने की आशंका है। घायलों में एनटीपीसी के तीन एजीएम भी शामिल हैं। मृतकों में उत्तर प्रदेश, बिहार और मध्य प्रदेश के लोग शामिल हैं। उल्लेखनीय है कि घटना के फोटो बहुत ही भयावह है जो विचलित कर देने वाले हैं। इसलिए हम उन्हें प्रकाशित नहीं कर रहे हैं।

शोक संवेदना और मदद

एनटीपीसी हादसे पर मुख्यमंत्री योगी आदित्यनाथ और सांसद सोनिया गांधी ने शोक संवेदना व्यक्त किया है। यूपी सीएम ने प्रमुख सचिव गृह को हादसे के पीड़ितों को हर संभव राहत पहुंचाने के निर्देश दिए हैं। मृतकों के लिए सीएम की ओर से मृतक आश्रितों और घायलों को आर्थिक सहायता देने की घोषणा की गई है। अब गुरुवार को यूपी तथा केंद्र सरकार के मंत्री घटनास्थल का निरीक्षण करने जा रहे हैं।

ऐस पाइप में अचानक धमाका

नेशनल थर्मल पावर कार्पोरेशन (एनटीपीसी) ऊंचाहार परियोजना के संयंत्र क्षेत्र में नवनिर्मित पांच सौ मेगावाट क्षमता की छठी इकाई में बिजली उत्पादन का काम चल रहा था। शाम करीब पांच बजे ब्वॉयलर की ऐश पाइप में अचानक तेज आवाज के साथ धमाका हो गया। लगभग 90 फीट ऊंचाई पर विस्फोट हुआ और प्लांट के चारों ओर गर्म राख फैल गई।

ब्वॉयलर के आसपास निजी कंपनी के दो सौ से ज्यादा श्रमिक, एनटीपीसी के कर्मचारी व अधिकारी काम में जुटे थे। ये सभी राख की चपेट में आ गए। हादसे की सूचना पर एनटीपीसी प्रबंधन सक्रिय हुआ। गर्म राख को हटाकर घायलों को बाहर निकालने का काम शुरू हुआ। सबसे पहले घायलों को एनटीपीसी अस्पताल लाया गया। फिर उनकी गंभीर हालत को देखते हुए रायबरेली या लखनऊ रेफर किया जाने लगा।

जानकारी के मुताबिक यह हादसा एनटीपीसी ऊंचाहार की 500 मेगावाट की छठी यूनिट हुआ है। इस हादसे में 25 लोगों को पहले एनटीपीसी अस्पताल में ही भर्ती कराकर उपचार कराया गया । शेष घायलों को निकाला जाने की कार्रवाई के बीच अधिकारियों ने यूनिट को सील कर दिया है। वहां किसी को जाने की अनुमति नहीं है। लोगों ने कई शवों को निकाले जाते देखा है। बताया गया है कि जिन लोगों की सांसे थम गई थीं उन्हें एनटीपीसी परिसर में ही रोक लिया गया जिनकी सांसे चल रहीं थी उन्हें ही बाहर के अस्पतालों तक पहुंचाया गया। हादसा बहुत भयावह है। कितने जख्मी कितनी मौत कुछ कहा नहीं जा सकता है।

हादसे से जुड़े कुछ खास तथ्य

 from Raebareli: Ash-pipe explosion at NTPC plant; at least 100 injured. pic.twitter.com/cgnaelrko3

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
  • यूनिट और उसके आसपास करीब 200 कर्मचारी मौजूद थे
  • लगभग 90 फीट ऊंचाई पर ऐस पाइप में विस्फोट हुआ
  • आग लगने के बाद लपटों में घिरकर सब इधर भागने लगे।
  • पुलिस और पीएसी के अलावा पुलिस अधिकारी मौके पर पहुंचे।
  • दर्जनों एम्बुलेंस से घायलों को जिला अस्पताल ले जाया गया।
  • कुछ श्रमिकों की हालत नाजुक देखते लखनऊ रेफर किया गया
  • फ़िलहाल हादसा कैसे हुआ इसकी अधिकारी जांच कर रहे हैं।
  • आग ऊंचाहार एनटीपीसी की 500 मेगावाट यूनिट में लगी।
  • परियोजना ने हाइड्रो टेस्टिंग में रिकार्ड स्थापित किया है।
  • बुधवार दोपहर बाद के हादसे ने सबको झकझोर दिया है।
  • एनटीपीसी बॉयलर फटने से 200 से अधिक मजदूर झुलसे हैं।
  • इस भयावह हादसे में 30 श्रमिकों की झुलसकर मौत है।
  • बड़ी संख्या में लोगों के दबे होने की आशंका बरकरार
  • लखनऊ केजीएमयू में पचास बेड आरक्षित किए गए।

शाम सात बजे तक एनटीपीसी अस्पताल में 110 और सामुदायिक स्वास्थ्य केंद्र में सात घायलों को भर्ती कराया गया। बाद में इनमें से 18 गंभीर घायलों को जिला अस्पताल लाया गया। हादसे में 30 लोगों की मौत हो चुकी है। इनमें से बिहार के कंचन और हबीबुल्ला, लखनऊ के संजय पटेल, मध्य प्रदेश के राम रतन, अवधेश जायसवाल निवासी बिकई ऊंचाहार, जितेंद्र चौधरी, प्यारेलाल, गफ्फूर, सच्चिदानंद, अनंतपाल, फैज्जुला, बालकृष्ण और रवींद्र शिनाख्त हो सकी है। एनटीपीसी के अतिरिक्त महाप्रबंधक प्रभात श्रीवास्तव, मिश्रीलाल और संजीव सक्सेना भी गर्म राख की चपेट में आ गए। तीनों को गंभीर हालत में लखनऊ रेफर किया गया है।

By Nawal Mishra