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NTPC stir sparks coal crisis
- Agitation for job leads to dip in power supply

Patna, Oct. 10: The power supply to Bihar from the central sector dipped further today because of the ongoing crisis at the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Kahalgaon plant.

The coal crisis at NTPC plant because of the ongoing agitation by residents seeking permanent jobs in the public sector power giant had its impact on the state’s share of energy in the central sector too.

Bihar, on Monday, received 1,016MW power against the 1,772MW from the central sector. It had received about 1,050MW on Sunday from the same.

The chance of power generation resuming at the Kahalgaon plant derailed once again, as another group of land oustees blocked the merry-go-round (MGR) track today.

Earlier in the evening, the NTPC management, with the help of the local administration, managed to convince the oustees to clear the tracks, who had blocked the MGR since October 8 near Kushapur railway overbridge demanding permanent jobs in the project.

The agitation had its impact on the power generation because of coal crisis after residents stopped the running of MGR goods service leading to the withdrawal of power from the central sector for Bihar.

Out of 1,772MW allotted to Bihar from the central sector, the state gets around one-fourth of its allocation (423MW) from the Kahalgaon plant alone.

After the power generation came to a halt in five out of seven units of the thermal plant, the state is getting around 65MW from Kahalgaon against 423MW, thus reducing the total drawing of power from the central sector to 1,016MW on Monday.

Just two plants with a capacity of 710MW were generating around 550MW power.

State electricity board spokesman H.R. Pandey said the new development would not create a situation of power crisis in the state because Bihar is also purchasing 291MW from the open market besides getting 70MW from Kanti Thermal Power Plant at Muzaffarpur and 50MW from Barauni thermal plant. He added that the energy load has reduced because of the pleasant weather.

Till three days back, the allocation from the central sector was hovering between 1,200MW and 1,400MW. The state’s peak power demand is 2,500MW.

However, sources in the NTPC said it was an emergency situation.

The source added that if the present agitation continues, then power generation at the remaining two units of the plant might be affected because the plant does not have any coal reserve to run the two plants at full load.

Earlier, the NTPC management, on late Sunday evening, with the help of local administration and Aman Kumar Paswan, the BJP MLA from Pirpainty constituency, managed to clear the MGR tracks after taking the agitating land oustees in confidence.

NTPC management, however, rejected the demand of permanent jobs for the 172 land oustees but assured to provide them all basic facilities inside the rehabilitated colonies.

The management also assured to implement all the basic development projects under community services for the rehabilitated colonies.

A.K. Das, senior manager (public relations department, NTPC Kahalgaon), said that after talks with the land oustees yesterday and earlier, the situation was brought under control as the oustees cleared the MGR tracks late last night.

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