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Uttarakhand flash flood: NTPC counters state govt, says provided ‘all relevant inputs’ to rescue team officials

The company’s statement comes a day after Uttarakhand authorities said officials of the power utility had told rescue teams that the missing workers they were searching for were in a different location to where they had been digging.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
February 12, 2021 3:29:14 am
NTPC has ascertained the “likely location” of the missing workers based on reports from their contracting agencies as per the work deployment made on the day of the incident.

NTPC Ltd has said it had provided “all relevant technical inputs” to rescue team officials on Sunday itself and that, based on this information, 12 workers were rescued on the same day itself. The company’s statement comes a day after Uttarakhand authorities said officials of the power utility had told rescue teams that the missing workers they were searching for were in a different location to where they had been digging.

However, the company claims that the operations were always aimed at accessing the right location. According to NTPC, the missing workers were working in the Silt Flushing Tunnel (SFT) of Tapovan Vishnugad under-construction hydropower plant for concrete lining at the time of the flash floods in the region Sunday.

“It is the same tunnel called (the) Silt Flushing Tunnel (SFT). As the progress for accessing SFT through (the) Intake Adit Tunnel is taking some time, efforts are also being made parallel to access the SFT by drilling a vertical hole from (the) Intake Adit Tunnel,” said an NTPC spokesperson, in response to queries by The Indian Express. “From the very first day of (the) rescue operation, all drawings and relevant information were shared with the rescue teams by NTPC team and engineers at site,” the spokesperson said. The spokesperson added that it was on the basis of the information provided by NTPC that 12 workers were rescued from the SFT outfall tunnel in the evening of the same day.

However, Garhwal Commissioner Ravinath Raman told The Indian Express on Wednesday that rescue teams had been told of the probability of around 34 labourers being trapped 180 metres “inside the Intake Adit Tunnel” of the plant. This prompted the teams to dig “in that direction,” he had said, adding that it was only on Wednesday that NTPC authorities had informed them that the last known worksite of the labourers was the SFT.

District authorities and rescue officials told The Indian Express on Wednesday that the “incorrect” information could prove a setback to hopes of finding survivors.

The plant’s SFT is 12 metres below the Intake Adit Tunnel. “With this, the strategy of going up to 180 metres has been changed. Drilling will be done in the SFT and lights with cameras will be lowered into the area,” Raman had said.

“There was no work going on in the Intake Adit Tunnel, therefore there is least possibilities of the workers trapped in (the) Intake Adit Tunnel,” said NTPC’s spokesperson.

At the same time, the exact location of the workers in the SFT “can’t be pinpointed as they may by all probability have rushed away within the tunnel when water/mud started ingress within (the) Tunnel to save themselves,” said the spokesperson.

NTPC has ascertained the “likely location” of the missing workers based on reports from their contracting agencies as per the work deployment made on the day of the incident.

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