2 found dead day after Reliance power plant dyke breached, 4 still missing
Two of the six persons reported missing after a fly ash dyke of Reliance’s Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project in Singrauli on the Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh border breached Friday evening were found dead during a search operation on Saturday morning, officials said.
“The bodies were found very far away from the ash dyke breach site. Five buffaloes have been rescued. An NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team of 30 people from Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), a SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) team and also district administration teams are involved in the search operation to trace other four persons missing. Boats and drone cameras are being used for search operations,” said KVS Chaudhary, district collector of Singrauli.
He said the bodies were identified as those of 8-year-old Abhishek Kumar Shah and 35-year-old Dinesh Kumar. Search operations were continuing to find the other four persons missing.
The four who are missing include Abhishek’s mother Choonkumari Shah, 27, a resident of Siddhikala village and his sister Seema Kumari (9), Dinesh Kumar’s son Ankit (3) of Bhamaura village and Rajjad Ali, 28, a resident of Waidhan.
Reena Kumar, wife of Dinesh Kumar, and another person named Keshpati were injured.
“The dyke at Reliance Power Plant (Sasan) premises near village Harrahva developed a breach on Friday evening…The injured have been hospitalised and their condition is stable,” Chaudhary said earlier on Friday evening.
The project is 780 kilometres northeast of the state capital of Bhopal.
Sasan Power Limited said in a statement on Friday evening that the breach in the ash dump yard wall pushed the water causing a break in the boundary wall and affected some thatched houses and minor land parcel.
“We are deeply anguished by the incident involving the break in the ash dump yard wall at our Sasan Power Plant… We are investigating the reasons underlying the incident. Power Plant operations will continue as the relief and restoration work is not affected by the same,” it said.
“We are closely working with locals and the District Administration in relief and restoration work,” it added.
Environment expert Ashwani Kumar Dubey accused officials of Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project of negligence.
“Due to negligent act of officials of Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project, the fly ash dyke breached and toxic residue and fly ash-laden water entered the houses of villagers and damaged their crops and also entered the Rihand reservoir,” Dubey said.
Dubey pointed out that this was not the first such incident in Singrauli.
“Earlier, the fly ash dyke of Essar breached. Then the dyke of Vindhyachal super thermal power plant breached. Now, this is the third such incident just within a year. Only a few months back the officials of the power plant told a team of National Green Tribunal (NGT) that their fly ash dyke was in a good condition,” he said.