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Bokaro plant bows to blackout

Power production stopped on Tuesday afternoon at Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), including its Bokaro and Chandrapura thermal power stations, forcing Bokaro Steel Limited, coal majors BCCL and CCL and over 300 big units in Dhanbad, Bokaro and Giridih to stop work.

Sources said DVC’s power production nosedived from 20,600MW to zero, affecting Jharkhand and Bengal. Though it is too early to quantify losses, the blackout has bled Jharkhand’s coal belt alone to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees.

Bokaro steel plant chief of communications Sanjay Tewary told The Telegraph that as the plant was directly linked to DVC, it was forced to cut short its steel production.

Bokaro steel plant needs between 150MW and 250MW per day. Tuesday’s losses will run up to several crores per hour with the forced shutdown of production units, including hot strip and cold rolling mills and blast furnaces.

Bokaro Power Supply Company Limited (BPSCL), an autonomous power unit that is a joint venture of DVC and Bokaro steel plant, proved to be a life-saver as it remained unaffected and produced around 190MW. The DVC asked BPSCL to route 10MW. The rest of the BPSCL-generated power is giving the township its essential services.

More than 60 big units at Bokaro’s industrial belt Biada, dependent on DVC, were forced to halt production.

Dhanbad experienced complete blackout. Coal production at all BCCL and CCL mines stopped. Hard coke factories, pig iron and rolling mill units in Dhanbad and Giridih were severely affected.