Protest stalls power plant

The thermal power plant of Bharatiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited (BRBCL), a 74:26 joint venture of NTPC and Indian Railways at Nabinagar in Aurangabad district, is on the verge of shutdown after local villagers, demanding employment, cut off its water supply on Tuesday.

By Dev Raj in Patna
  • Published 6.12.17
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Patna: The thermal power plant of Bharatiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited (BRBCL), a 74:26 joint venture of NTPC and Indian Railways at Nabinagar in Aurangabad district, is on the verge of shutdown after local villagers, demanding employment, cut off its water supply on Tuesday.

Around 100 people, including around 40 women, from a displaced village, Kajrain, at 10am stopped the pumps that draw water from the Sone river for the plant.

"We have reduced the load of the unit to deal with the sudden scarcity of water," said a BRBCL official. "If the situation continues we will have to shut down operations by midnight. Water is used to make steam and also as a coolant."

The BRBCL is operating a 250-megawatt thermal power unit at the place, located around 180km southwest of Patna, while three more such units are on the anvil. The electricity generated is used to feed the railways.

"The sudden situation which has emerged will impact the grid and power supply as the unit will have to be shut without water," said NTPC public relations officer Vishwanath Chandan. "The demands of the agitators are very general, and are not concerned with NTPC or BRBCL. They are connected with the district administration. We have already provided jobs at the plant to around 20 to 25 people among the protesters."

Aurangabad district magistrate Kanwal Tanuj said he received information about the agitation in the evening.

"An FIR is being lodged against those who have tried to disturb power production," he said. "The culprits will be arrested. Unilaterally disturbing work is not the way to protest. They should have come for talks. We have come to know that the protesters want employment, but the company officials are blaming anti-social elements for instigating them."

Pamphlets by protesters enumerated their demands. which include compensation for several plots, measurement of residential land, and irrigation facilities.