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After DC’s rap, Jalandhar power plant shuts its unit temporarily

Black ash emission: Authorities say they have called in engineers to clean electrostatic precipitator which may have caused the propulsion of pollutants.

punjab Updated: Feb 07, 2018 14:20 IST
Parampreet Singh Narula
Parampreet Singh Narula
Hindustan Times, Nawanshahr
Jalandhar power plant,Black ash emission,Nawanshahr
The residents have been facing breathing problems and irritation in eyes due to emission of pollutants. (HT File)

Following the warning from Nawanshahr’s deputy commissioner (DC) Amit Kumar, the authorities of biomass power plant here have shut their defaulting unit and started the cleaning process of the machinery to resolve the problem of black-ash emission.

The move came two weeks after Hindustan Times highlighted the problems being faced by the residents living within the diameter of around four to five kilometres due to the black ash emitting from one of the plant’s unit.

DC Amit Kumar, taking a suo-motu notice, had held a meeting the plant authorities, sugar mill authorities and officials of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) on Saturday and asked the plant representatives to solve the problem at the earliest.

According to experts, the plant operates on two-polar system, which is supposed to use only sugarcane residue as a fuel while the company has also been using stubble and other fuels.

“Being a city resident, I am also facing difficulty due to the emission. I have given a week’s time to the plant authorities to sort out the problem else we will have to take an action,” Kumar said.

The residents have been facing breathing problems and irritation in their eyes as the chimneys installed at the unit had been emitting dangerous pollutants.

JS Bhogal, officer on special duty (OSD) of the plant said they have temporarily shut the unit and called the engineers to clean the electrostatic precipitator (ESP) and other machinery.

“We have been trying to figure out the reason of such emission as the entire machinery installed in the unit is latest. We are hopeful that after cleaning, the problem will get resolved. We will resume the operations after seeking permission from the DC,” Bhogal said.

As per the information, the plant, Nawanshahr Power Private Limited, was set up in August 2017 by the Saraya Industries, reportedly owned by a senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia. It has a capacity of producing 15-megawatt (MW) of power and was set up on the ‘build, own, operate, transfer’ basis, also known as BOT, with an aim to produce power from paddy stubble and sugarcane residue.

As per the agreement under the BOT, the entrusted firm is supposed to run the plant for 15 years and then hand it over to the sugar mill authorities. On the barter of sugarcane residue, the firm has to provide free electricity to the mill beside providing steam for boiling. The mill authorities are also getting 5.5% share of electricity, which is being sold to the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL).

According to experts, the plant operates on two-polar system, which is supposed to use only sugarcane residue as a fuel while the company has also been using stubble and other fuels, which need a three-polar system, the reason behind the emission of black ash.

First Published: Feb 07, 2018 14:20 IST