The first heavy downpour, on Tuesday, led to the closure of the Vedanta power plant at Banawali village in Talwandi Sabo as water entered the underground premises of the plant where coal is stored. The total power generation capacity of the plant is 660 mega watt.
The rain also led to the flood-like situation in more than ten villages of the district as most of them are submerged in water due to a breach in a canal.
"Our plant may remain closed for the next one month as water has entered in the underground premises where we store our coal. Due to this, there will be no production of electricity due to the wet coal. As Raipur village, from where we recieve power to run the plant is also submerged, we are neither receiving power, nor producing it," said one of the top officials of the power plant who chose not to be named. He said, “I don’t know how the district authorities will resolve the problem as the whole area around the plant is submerged.”
It is estimated that nearly 10,000 acres of land in different villagees is inundated. There was a breach in a canal in Bajewala village due to which excess water started flowing into the villages. Though, this is the first shower of the season, but the region often faces similar situations whenever it rains heavily.
“Our crops have been destroyed, though we managed to save our animals. Water has entered several houses and many houses have also collapsed in one of the villages. Due to lack of arrangements by the authorities concerned, we are facing a lot of difficulty,” said one of the villagers of Raipur. Some villagers also alleged that some government officials initially asked the villagers to handle the situation on their own.
The district authorities refuted the allegation and claimed that they are trying their best to control of the situation.
“Due to the release of excess water from the neighbouring state, we are facing such a situation. The SDM and other officials have been deputed to assess the loss of property so that later we can provide proper compensation to the victims,” said deputy commissioner Pravin Kumar Thind.
He confirmed that some of the villages are in low-lying areas and water flows from one village to the other easily.
“The situation will be under control if it doesn’t rain for a day or two. We have taken measures to check the flow of water,” said the deputy commissioner.
The villagers, who seemed helpless due to the nature’s fury, were more worried due to the weather situation as it is predicted that the region may receive more rainfall in days to come. Later in the evening, a few villagers were reported to be leaving their homes and live with some of their relatives.
On any prior information about the rain, the deputy commissioner said, “The met department informs the state authorities and we never receive any information from them, so we don’t have any prior information about the rain.”