Passengers aboard the stranded Hatia-Anand Vihar Swarna Jayanti Express at Ranchi station on Tuesday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi, July 31: Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) managed to tap a hydel power station in Bhutan to partially overcome the crisis in capital Ranchi around 3pm, two hours after the eastern and north-eastern grids collapsed, but most parts of Jharkhand suffered blackouts throughout the day.
As chairman of Eastern Regional Power Committee, JSEB chief S.N. Verma prevailed upon power officials to allow emergency supply to the tune of 50MW from Tala Power Plant in Bhutan.
As power flowed to Jharkhand by 4.15pm, Verma pointed out that further efforts were on to restore normality by diverting the supply from Bhutan to Patratu and Tenughat to light up their stalled units.
On an average, Jharkhand needs around 850MW, while capital Ranchi can make do with 130MW. “We expect normality to be restored in the state within the next two hours,” the JSEB chief said around 9pm.
Around 1pm, there was complete darkness in 27 of the 28 districts of the state. The lone exception was Jamshedpur town, which is serviced by Tata Power and DVC. Jusco, the steel city’s utility guardian diverted power from Tata Steel’s captive power plant and ensured no area was without power for more than an hour.
The power crisis meant that train services, mining operations and industrial activity were badly hit throughout the state. Supply of drinking water was disrupted as pumping stations could not run their pumps on schedule.
In Ranchi, a spokesman for Heavy Engineering Corporation Ltd said production came to a complete standstill as power supply to all its three plants was snapped.
At Bokaro Steel, production stopped around 1pm and a company spokesperson said they were unsure when the steel plant would resume operations.
JSEB authorities said they expected to restore power in most parts of the state by tonight. Around 6pm, TVNL general manager Ramavtar Sahu said that they had successfully lit up one of its two units. It began generation within two hours.
“We expect one unit to commence commercial generation within an hour. The second unit would be lit up only after the first unit stabilises completely,” he told The Telegraph around 8pm.
DVC officials ensured their units were revived quickly. By 3.30 PM, Panchet was generating 32 MW, while the Maithon station contributed another precious 13 MW. As generation from the two hydel power stations picked up, power was being sent to the other stations to enable them light up their units.
At least 25 miners, who were trapped in their transportation cage for over fours hours in various collieries of BCCL, were brought up after the PSU arranged for power from DVC to run the lift.
BCCL safety officer Surendra Prasad of Jairampur Colliery, who was with the trapped miners, said no one panicked. “We were being informed by higher authorities about alternative arrangements being made to rescue us.”