Power plant not to function in near future
There seems to be no respite for the Talwandi power plant as the met department has predicted more rain in the next few days putting their power production in jeopardy.
The plant that eventually shut down this Sunday due to waterlogging is still struggling to drain out the water from the premises.
Senior officials are unsure as to by when they will be able to start power production. The plant run by the Vedanta group directly supplies around 660 MW of power to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited.
"We are expecting rain in Mansa in the next few days," said the agriculture officer. While claiming that the plant obeys all guidelines of the ministry of environment and forests, the management reiterated that it was due to the canal breach and its overflow in the nearby villages, Cherianwali, Raipur and Banawali, due to which the plant is submerged in water.
"We have drained around 60% of water as we are throwing it towards our own wasteland within the premises. We are not sure by when we will be able to start production as our coal storage in the basement is still submerged in water," said one of the senior officials of the company.
Meanwhile, the villagers staying near the plant alleged that the plant often drained the water into their fields due to which they faced difficulties. "It is not the first time that we are facing a flood-like situation. Every year, our village is flooded as the power plant drains out the water towards our fields, and later the farmers drain the water towards the village to save their crops," said Sukhjinder Singh, resident of Jherianwali village.
Jherianwali village, one of the worst affected in the season, saw a few houses collapsing in the rain. The main entrance to the village and the roads which link it to the neighbouring villages have been submerged in water for the past four days. There has been no power in the village since. The wall of the village gurdwara is on the verge of collapse. Around 800 acres of land which was growing cotton has been spoilt leading to heavy losses to farmers.
"The administration only claims to provide compensation, but what about preventive measures? What about building proper drains and saving us from such apathy every year? The deputy commissioner visited only the power plant but he has no time to visit us and address our issues.
The roof of our gurdwara has been leaking and we had to move the Guru Granth Sahib from its original position. Neither the deputy commissioner nor the village sarpanch has taken any steps to tackle the situation," said Manjit Singh, who was heading a group of youth who were building a muddy structure in the village to check the water flow.
The locals alleged that the senior district officials just passed by their villages without addressing the real issue. All the claims of aid and compensation look shallow as one visits the villages affected by this natural calamity.