NTPC shuts down 4 units in Bihar plant after ash-mixed water reaches farmland due to snag

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Bhagalpur (Bihar), Nov 7 (PTI) State-run power producer NTPC on Saturday shut down four of the seven units of its plant in Bihars Kahalgaon as a preventive measure, after some problem in the system caused water mixed with ash to spread in nearby farmland, an official said.

As a result, electricity generation at the super thermal power station plummeted to around 400 MW from the current 1400-1500 MW, NTPC spokesperson Vishwanath Chandan said in Patna.

The incident, which occurred on the company's 46th 'Raising Day', triggered protests from local villagers who put up a road blockade for some time, claiming that an embankment of an ash pond has breached and water mixed with ash that came out of it damaged standing Rabi crops on around 200 acre of land.

'Ash ponds' are used in coal-based power plants for disposal of ash produced during the burning of the fuel. Ash is mixed with water there to prevent its release in the atmosphere. The mixture flows to ash ponds from the plant through spillways.

The villagers demanded compensation for their crop loss and the NTPC official said they will get it at the earliest.

Chandan, however, denied that the embankment of an ash pond developed a breach and said the overflow might have occurred due to some problem in the spillway.

The authorities formed a high-level committee to investigate the cause of the incident, he said.

The plant was being run at 1400-1500 MW load because of less demand and the incident has forced the authorities to shut down four of its units leading to decline in generation to around 400 MW, the spokesperson told PTI.

Two 500 MW units and two 210 MW units of the plant were shut down to prevent the possibility of any damage to machinery, Chandan said.

The Kahalgaon power plant with an installed capacity of 2,340 MW supplies power to West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Sikkim. PTI COR AR NN NN