Inquiry panel blames Essar power plant for fly ash spillage in Madhya Pradesh
A joint team of Central Pollution Control Board and MP Pollution Control Board is also conducting an inquiry into the damage caused to the environment,according to the district administration.Updated: Aug 18, 2019, 00:46 IST
A three-member committee formed to look into the reasons behind a spillage of fly ash from Essar Power MP Ltd’s Mahan Power Plant in Madhya Pradesh earlier this month has blamed the company for the incident. Essar Power said it would be able to respond only after it goes through the report of the committee, which submitted it to the Singrauli district collector.
Singrauli is located 780 kilometers northeast of Bhopal. On August 7, a fly ash dyke of the 1200 MW coal based thermal power plant developed a breach, resulting in fly ash spillage affecting at least three villages and damaging crops. The administration imposed a fine of Rs 50 lakh on the company for damage to crops and other properties and asked the management to repair the dyke.
A joint team of Central Pollution Control Board and MP Pollution Control Board is also conducting an inquiry into the damage caused to the environment,according to the district administration.
The three-member committee comprising sub-divisional officer of police (SDoP) KS Dwivedi, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Vikas Kumar Singh and executive engineer Ramautar Kaushik, in its report, attributed the spillage to “sub-standard construction of the dyke boundary, lack of repairing and maintenance of the dyke and waste in the dyke not cleared as a result of ‘extreme carelessness of company management.”
The report, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, warned that if the dyke was not repaired in time, it may turn local water sources toxic, posing a risk to life and health.
A Supreme Court advocate, Ashwani Dubey, who has been working on the environment in the area, said the report had corroborated his stand that it was the carelessness of the company which resulted in the incident.
“The compensation demanded by the district administration is too less to compensate for the damage caused to properties of people and environment. There should be stringent action against the company management for jeopardizing the life of hundreds of villagers,” Dubey said.
Singrauli KVS Chaudhary said he had received the report.” I am looking into it to decide the further course of action. However, the company has paid the compensation of Rs 50 lakh and is repairing the dyke as was asked by the administration,” he said.
Essar said in a statement that it would be able to respond to the committee’s findings only after going through its entire report, reiterating its claim that the incident was the result of “a deliberate and criminal act of sabotage of which EPMPL (Essar Power MP Ltd) has been the unfortunate victim.”
The statement added: “The Company has already started repairing the damaged ash dam. Under normal circumstances, the repair work should take around 20 days. However, the company is operating in very hostile circumstances with significant presence of miscreants and saboteurs whose one-point agenda is to disrupt or not allow rectification work to commence. We have pleaded with the authorities for support for completion of all the repairs at the earliest, while keeping the miscreants and saboteurs at bay. Despite our best efforts, we have not been able to undertake a study of the likely environmental impact since the authorities have advised against senior officers entering the area in the interest of their personal safety.”