Scores of locals are staging a demonstration at Kahalgaon near here, disrupting supply of coal to the 2340 MW NTPC unit even as officials on Friday expressed concern over fast depleting stocks which could lead to a major power crisis in Bihar if the situation remained unresolved for long. According to NTPC Kahalgaon Public Relations Officer Saurabh Kumar, the locals mainly villagers whose land was acquired for setting up the unit and who had been paid compensation besides employment through ad hoc jobs have been squatting on the Kahalgaon-Lalmatia rail track for nearly 24 hours.
This has prevented offloading of coal at the unit, which receives about 12-14 freight wagons of the same every day, he said adding that the protesters are demanding permanent jobs at the super thermal power unit. He also said after they had announced their agitation, NTPC officials held several rounds of talks, assuring them that their concerns would be duly addressed and urging them not to disrupt the coal supply. However, they have gone ahead with their agitation.
Since yesterday, four rounds of tripartite talks have been held wherein officials from the local administration as well as NTPC have tried to negotiate with representatives of the agitators. More rounds would take place today, he added. NTPC Manager, Corporate Communications, (East-1) Vishwanath Chandan said in Patna it is a grim situation. Our coal stocks are fast depleting and we have reserves for not more than three days. If the crisis is not defused by then, power generation at the unit may get affected which would have a serious impact on electricity supply to many parts of Bihar.
We have sent an SOS to Chief Secretary and the states Home Secretary seeking their urgent invitation in the matter. We have also sought an appointment with them later in the day, he added.
Security inside the NTPC unit is managed by the CISF and, hence, that may not be an issue. But if the coal supply remains disrupted the unit will not be able to function. The situation cannot be tackled without active intervention of the state government, he said. Kahalgaon Super Thermal Power Station is one of the coal based power plants of the NTPC. The total installed capacity of the plant is 2340 MW and Bihar gets 426 MW out of this, Chandan said.
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