Hostage crisis ends with promise of power

NTPC to supply electricity to villages till state firm takes over

By Dev Raj in Patna
  • Published 13.09.18
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The BRBCL township at Nabinagar in Aurangabad district after the truce. Telegraph picture

Patna: The hostage crisis at the township of the Bhartiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited (BRBCL) thermal power plant at Nabinagar in Aurangabad district, around 180km southwest of Patna, ended on Tuesday night following a truce cobbled up by the district administration between the BRBCL authorities and residents of Surar village who had laid siege to the township.

"The truce happened around 9:30pm on Tuesday," said NTPC public relations officer Vishwanath Chandan. "The state government officials asked us to give electricity to the villagers on humanitarian grounds till the SBPDCL (South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited) establishes its infrastructure and supplies power to the villagers. Accordingly, power supply to the villagers has been resumed."

State government officials have assured that the SBPDCL would complete its infrastructure work by September-end, Chandan added.

NTPC general manager (human resources) Rakesh Prasad and other officials visited the township on Wednesday to take stock of the situation. They noted things that need to be rectified to make the township more secure for its residents.

The BRBCL is 74:26 joint venture of the NTPC and Indian Railways. At present a 250 MW thermal power unit is operational there. Three more such units are being constructed, which will take the production to 1,000 MW. The electricity generated is used mainly by the railways. Around 100 families and 50 bachelor employees live in the township. Villagers in the vicinity were illegally tapping electricity supplied from the power plant to the township.

Early morning on Monday a major fault had developed in the electricity supply system at the township, due to which the tapped power also dried up. The villagers accused the NTPC of disrupting the supply and laid siege to the township holding the residents hostage for three days. They also stopped essential supplies, including milk and vegetables. The BRBCL officials rectified the fault in the electricity supply system but did not allow the villagers to tap power.

A senior NTPC official said the truce was accepted because the local cops said they won't be responsible if any untoward incident happened.

"The police officials said they would be busy in maintaining law and order during Muharram and would not be able to pay attention to the township. We were also worried about the safety and security of our family members," said the NTPC official, who requested anonymity.

However, when contacted, Aurangabad superintdenent of police (SP) Satyaprakash said: "There is no question of the police not paying attention to the safety and security of BRBCL township residents. There is a police station near the gate of the township. Our personnel were present there. However, we did not use force on the villagers because there was no need for it. The issue was amicably resolved."

The SP also said that BRBCL has CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) cover some of them were present inside the premises.