Talcher (Orissa): NTPC has shut down one of its four 500 MW thermal power generation units at Kanhia in response to a closure notice by Orissa State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) following the power major's faulty fly ash management plan.

NTPC, which has six power generation units (6X500 MW) at its Talcher Super Thermal Power Station (TSTPS), was issued the notice to shut down four of them by OSPCB on June 28, Sidhanta Das, Member Secretary, told the reporters here.

On June 29, OSPSB rejected a NTPC request for four months time to repair and raise the height of the ash pond dykes.

As per OSPCB, the thermal power station generates about 6 lakh MT fly ash every month and going by the current capacity, the ash pond would last till October and raising its dykes would take at least a year. In such a situation the only way to manage the fly ash is to reduce the power generation, he said.

NTPC Regional Director R Venkateswaran said the power situation in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala would be severely affected if the four units were closed down.

Orissa, which gets around 200 MW from the four units of stage II and 318 MW from stage I (2X500 MW) units, would also be affected, Venketeswaran added.

In July 2010 and on June 3, 2011, there were breaches in the dykes and ash slurry oozed out of the pond. In the first incident it entered Nandira River, a tributary of Brahmani, and contaminated it, while in the other incident the breach was limited to NTPC's own area and did not cause any damage to public health.

A OSPCB team had visited NTPC site at Kaniha and submitted its report in June after which the closer notice was issued for violation of section 21 and 31(A) of Air Pollution Act and section 25 and 33 (A) of water pollution act.

As per provision, the District Collector of Angul would implement the closure notice.

(Agencies)