Lucknow, 3rd of November, 2017: The author came across a detailed report published by the Indian Express in their today’s edition, wherein they have made a detailed re-construction of the chain of events.
The causative factors behind the explosion being the frugal ways deployed by the workers and their administrators in the NTPC who allow frugality to place of the due technical processes that defy the every prescribed norm of safety.
We may recall that there had been once a huge disaster in the country, at an industrial plant situated in the city of Bhopal where, even today who was at fault remains a question. The industrial disaster that took place at Unchahar’s NTPC thermal power plant Unit No. 6 was no less than a grave disaster.
The disaster as reported in the following article is based on the information gathered from the site investigation and interrogations.
The whole picture brings to the fore that how does one of the most reputed and profit-making power generating corporations of India risked the lives of its operation and maintenance team just to avoid shutting down its one unit and risk losses. There have been 29 confirmed deaths out of this one blast in the boiler.
The Indian Express has precisely re-constructed the chain of events occurring to the blast which clearly point out that the workers were engaged in de-choking the boiler using rods, while it was operating at the capacity of 200 MW. The de-choking with rods is to facilitate the removal of the ash clinkers which are solid and prevent smooth ventilation from the boiler. This entire process has to be done a prescribed manner which involves shutting down of the power plant and if the need be, a wait till the boiler is cooled off.
India has in the past seen many industrial disasters, like the Union Carbide, Shree Ram Oleum Gas leak amongst others. The recent was the fire at the Bombay High oil rig and the famous fire in the Bhagalpur Coal mines.
The series of industrial disasters has brought out risks that our lackadaisical approach towards heavy machines bears, not just in terms of loss of life and property but also the environment.
The author is currently situated in the city of Lucknow, where there is a dense smog covering the skies. The regions situated in the an around a 200 KM radius from the power plant are not faced with good air quality as the blast released a good amount of gases and smoke, which have dented the air quality.
The NTPC is now conducting an inquiry into the incident, and the author hopes that there is a study of harm to the environment caused by the fallout as well.
The incident brings to the fore the greater care and vigilance by the industries situated across India, so that we may not face such risks so easily, just due to negligence.
Our disaster preparedness is also at test here when the fallout could not be contained immediately and the allied risks to the environment were not taken care of.