The Lalmatia colliery tragedy in which 18 workers lost their lives, has triggered shortage of coal supply to 2340 mega watt National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) plant at Kahalgaon in Bihar’s Bhagalpur. With depletion in reserved stock of coal and no fresh supply, the management closed the seventh unit of the plant on Wednesday, citing ‘annual overhaul’ as the reason. If the crisis persists, there is chance of other units also halting operations. Group General Manager of NTPC Kahalgaon Rakesh Samuel told media on Thursday that coal supply from Lalmatia coal mines in Godda district of Jharkhand is totally hampered after the December 29 mishap.
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“Everyday 2,500 tonnes of coal is being used out of the reserved stock. Now, only 3.5 lakh tonnes of reserved coal is left with the plant which could cater to the need at best for a fortnight time,” the Group GM said.
On December 29, a massive mound of earth came crashing down on excavators at Lalmatia open cast coal mine of Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL), the worst such disaster in over a decade. The death toll climbed to 18 in the mine mishap, after 2 bodies were recovered on January 1.
General Manager, Operation & Maintenance, NTPC Kahalgaon S Narendra told media that as an alternative arrangement, the plant having seven units totalling 2340 MW is getting two rail rakes of coal from Raniganj mines in West Bengal. “There is low chance of increasing supply from Raniganj mines,” Narendra said. The NTPC Kahalgaon used to get 12-14 rail rakes of coal everyday from Lalmatia colliery.
“Seeing shortage of coal, one unit of the plant has been closed well in advance for annual overhauling,” the GM said.
“If this situation persists, there will be no option but to close other six units one by one,” he added. Narendra said the Chief Managing Director of ECL has been told about the precarious situation at NTPC Kahalgaon. “But, there is no visual encouraging result so far,” he said.
“In case the plant does not get 15 rail rakes of coal daily, the reserve stock of coal will be in poor condition and this could result in low generation of power,” he said.