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

BY THE WIRE STAFF ON 02/11/2017

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)

https://thewire.in/193493/ntpc-boiler-explodes-unchahar-12-killed/

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

BISWAJEET BANERJEE

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.

Let new CBI director take a call on Sasan: Supreme Court

SC-BCCL
The bench refused to make any changes to an earlier order directing the CBI chief to probe charges of misuse of office by the agency’s former director, Ranjit Sinha, in the coal scam case.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court left it to the new CBI director to decide whether or not to probe an allegation that coal from a captive block allocated to Reliance Powerowned Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project was diverted for commercial purposes.

Rejecting a demand from activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan to order a probe into a Comptroller and Auditor General finding that the exchequer had lost Rs 29,000 crore in potential revenue due to the diversion, a bench led by justice Madan B Lokur said: “Let the new CBI director decide.”

Reliance Power had refuted the findings in the CAG report. On Monday, the bench, however, issued notices on another plea by Bhushan, seeking cancellation of the allocation of a block to NTPC.

The state owned power producer had been spared earlier, Bhushan argued, because it claimed that there was no joint venture with any private company for the block.

It has subsequently come to light that there was such a joint venture, he argued. The other two judges on the bench were justices Kurian Joseph and AK Sikri.

The bench refused to make any changes to an earlier order directing the CBI chief to probe charges of misuse of office by the agency’s former director, Ranjit Sinha, in the coal scam case. Sinha’s lawyer, Vikas Singh, wanted the court to treat him on par with the politicians who escaped investigations in the case, arguing that the material cited to hold him prima facie guilty was just some entries made in a diary.

He then urged the court to direct the CBI director to hold only an inquiry and not an investigation. That was also refused. Singh said he would file an application seeking recall of that order.

 

देहरादून में गूंजा रिलायंस का सासन पॉवर प्रोजेक्ट घोटाला

Bhaskar News Apr 27, 2016, 06:13 AM IST

देहरादून में गूंजा रिलायंस का सासन पॉवर प्रोजेक्ट घोटाला