Coal supply improves at NTPC's Odisha unit

Bhubaneswar, Dec 2 : Coal supply at the Talcher Super Thermal Power Station (TSTPS) in Odisha has improved, after disruption on account of protests by local people claiming they were denied jobs, officials said Monday.

The TSTPS is a unit of state-run power producer National Thermal Power Corporation.

The TSTPS, also known as NTPC-Kaniha power station, has six 500 MW units near Talcher in the district of Angul, about 180 km from state capital Bhubaneswar.

It requires 55,000 tonnes of coal each day to function at full capacity.

The power plant scaled down output by 50 percent Nov 29, after the law and order situation caused operations at the seven Talcher coal fields of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), a unit of state-run Coal India, to come to a grinding halt.

"The coal situation has improved slightly. We have received about 40,000 tonnes of coal Sunday," a senior TSTPS official told IANS.

"If we continue to get regular supply, generation will become normal in a day or two," the official said, adding that the power plant continues to operate at 50 percent capacity.

The 3,000 MW power station supplies power to Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, the northeastern states, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Pondicherry, he said.

Trouble started at the coal fields Thursday, after police took 49 people, including a legislator, under preventive detention.

Operations at two railway sidings, that had been halted for about a month and a half, were also resumed Thursday after the strict intervention by law enforcement agencies.

The operations at the sidings had stopped a month and a half ago after villagers protested against the contractor for engaging his own workers, denying jobs to them. Since then, the villagers have continued to protest.

Local villagers, led by MLA Praja Kishore Pradhan, Friday forcibly shut mines, burnt 35 bikes and four multi-utility vehicles before ransacking offices at the mining sites. They also removed a fishplate from the rail track used for coal transportation.

Irate villagers set an oil tanker and an excavator on fire Saturday. Police managed to chase protestors away when they were attempting to torch a conveyor belt used for transporting coal.

Police have arrested two people, including the legislator, and deployed more than 500 armed policemen in the coal fields to prevent any untoward incidents. Prohibitory orders have been clamped in the region.

Operations at two coal mines resumed Sunday under heavy police cover, although the situation continues to remain tense. Five mines still remain shut.

--IANS (Posted on 02-12-2013)

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