Silchar, May 24: The Barak valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi are staggering under an acute power crisis, with supply at an all-time low.
The shortage in power has been triggered by the absence of rain in the past few months and accentuated by the shutdown of the Palatana thermal project in Tripura — run jointly by the ONGC and Tripura Power Corporation — on Thursday.
The 36.23 lakh population of Barak Valley has been reeling under power cuts for an average of 15 hours a day.
The shutdown of the natural gas-based thermal project in Palatana in Udaipur, Tripura for routine maintenance, which was supposed to be completed by May 28, now needs to be prolonged by five days.
Benoy Nandi, the chief executive officer of the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd, in its Barak Valley zone, said this morning that the Palatana authorities have now stretched the deadline of the maintenance to June 2.
The maintenance shutdown of the Palatana project, which now generates an average of 326MW of thermal power in its first of the two phases, is currently bogged down in the wake of the largescale accumulation of dirt and other pollutants.
ONGC sources said experts from the public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd in Hardwar and Bhopal have been trying to remove the dirt and other pollutants now crippling the gas supply channels in the Palatana project.
ONGC and Tripura Power Corporation have moved the North Eastern Power Research Council (NEPRC) in Shillong to grant them an extension for the maintenance. The council is now reviewing work at the Palatana project before granting the extension.
Assam is now experiencing an acute power crunch. The power supply agencies are able to arrange 400MW to 500MW of hydel and thermal power against an average daily demand of about 1,200MW.