Bhabha hydel station fire: Electricity board seeks details of station's engineers since 2008

  • Saurabh Chauhan, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Jun 12, 2015 23:11 IST

Days after a high-level committee constituted by the state government pointed out major safety lapses at the 120MW Sanjay Jalvidyut Pariyojana station that led to its devastation in a fire in January, the state electricity board has sought details of the superintending engineers (SEs) and executive engineers (XENs) posted at the station since 2008.

The committee's probe found that the fire hydrant system established on the premises of the station, Asia's first underground hydro power project, was non-functional since it was damaged in a landslide in 2007. But it was never repaired. Besides, the system set-up to douse flames was not functional. However, it failed to establish the cause of fire, sources said.

In wake of the report, the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) has sought details of engineers posted at the station, also known as Bhabha hydel station, to determine why the fire hydrant system remained non-functional all this while.

Following the fire in January that caused loss worth crores, the state government in February constituted a committee headed by Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) director MS Rana and directorate of energy chief engineer Neeraj Kapoor.

The committee had in April, too, submitted a report, but the government found it lacking and ordered another probe.

During the departmental inquiry, the state electricity board had suspended SE, generation, Manish Singhal and XEN Vimal Negi. They are yet to be reinstated.

A magisterial probe conducted by sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Neelam Dulta had also exposed the chinks in the fire hydrant system.

However, a final report is yet to be compiled for want of forensic department's inputs. The forensic report would disclose the quality of tools installed in the transformers, including the switchyard machinery that was imported from Switzerland in 1989, the year the project was commissioned.

Principal secretary, power, SKBS Negi said he was analysing the report, and action would be taken against the guilty.
Since the fire damaged the 10 mva transformer, power generation has stopped at the station, causing loss of lakhs per day. The power house generated 585 million units electricity per year.

"It would take almost a year to resume the station's full functionality for which the state electricity board has already floated tenders," PC Negi, managing director, HPSEB, said.


January 22: Fire at Sanjay Jalvidyut Pariyojana

January 23: Fire doused; magisterial probe ordered

January 24: State electricity board probe starts

January 28: Two senior engineers of electricity board suspended

February: Government constitutes panel for probe

February 13: Magisterial report submitted

April second week: Government's panel submits report

April third week: Government asks panel to re-investigate the matter

June: second week: Panel submits report

June 10: HPSEBL seeks detail of engineers posted in project since 2008

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