NTPC CMD meets CM over power units closure

Bhubaneswar: Worried over the closure of its four power generation units at Talcher Super Thermal Power Station (TSTPS), NTPC on Friday assured the state government of its commitments to protect environment and ash management.

Closure of the four units, having installed capacity of 2000 mw at Kanhia in Angul district had affected the power situation in southern states, NTPC CMD Arup Roy Choudhury told Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, state Forest and Environment Minister Debi Prasad Mishra and Chief Secretary B K Patnaik during a meeting, official sources said.

Accused of failing to properly manage the ash-ponds under TSTPS, NTPC had to close down its power production there in response to a closure notice by the Orissa State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB).

The closure notice is a cause of concern for NTPC, which had submitted an action plan on ash pond management to OSPCB, Choudhury told reporters later.

He said one of the four ash ponds had breached on June 2 and NTPC has completed 40 per cent of the repair work, which would be completed August 15.

Asked whether he requested the chief minister to relax the closure notice, Choudhury said "the chief minister is well aware about the development. It is up to the chief minister to take a decision in this regard."

On Mishra`s charge that the overall pollution control measure taken up by NTPC, particularly the management of ash and ash-pond, had not been satisfactory in the last three and half years, Choudhury said the central PSU had attended all the previous notices issued by OSPCB and even worked over them to rectify faults, if any.

As its long-term action plan for ash-pond management, NTPC had planned to lay a 40 km long pipeline to discharge ash generated from the TSTPS.

The ash generated from the power plant would be used to fill coal mines area at a distance, he said, adding that there were also plans to raise the height of the ash-pond.

Six units of TSTPS having capacity of 500 MW each, generated 20,000 tons of ash every day.

Meanwhile, Mishra said "NTPC is not an enemy of the state government. The pollution control board took extreme step as five accidents took place in ash-pond during four years."

The state government would not hesitate to relax the closure notice if OSPCB was satisfied with the steps taken by NTPC, he added.