The standoff at the Bharatiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited (BRBCL) thermal power plant at Nabinagar in Aurangabad district was resolved for the moment on Wednesday afternoon, but the protesting villagers maintained that they had not been given jobs in the plant as promised.
“The villagers from Karjain asserted that they haven’t got jobs,” said Aurangabad sub-divisional officer (SDO) Surendra Prasad, who led the team that negotiated the truce.
The agitation was called off at 4.30pm and the barge pumps installed at the spot near the Sone river – around 180km southwest of Patna – to draw water from the river for the plant were restarted.
Earlier, matters came to a head around midnight as personnel from NTPC Khaira police station went to the agitation spot to remove the villagers after lodging an FIR against them for disturbing operations at the power plant.
“The police team that went there was held hostage by the villagers,” said a senior official associated with the BRBCL plant. “Later, additional personnel were sent, and they used mild force to drive away the protesters.”
The BRBCL officials then started the pumps to draw water and were able to keep them operational till 5am when the villagers returned, thrashed the pump operator and two security guards posted there and stopped the pumps again.
The villagers also took away the operator and the guards’ mobile phones so that they could not inform anybody else.
The protesters also dragged spare water pipes and placed them on the dirt track that leads to the agitation spot.
“The power plant was in dire straits and would have to be shut down, but the opportunity to draw water for around five hours allowed operations at the BRBCL plant continue on Wednesday,” said NTPC public relations officer Vishwanath Chandan.
The plant was running smoothly after the agitation was called off, he added.
The BRBCL is a 74:26 joint venture between the NTPC and Indian Railways for setting up four coal-power units of 250MW capacity. One unit is functional, while the rest are under construction. Nearly 90 per cent of the electricity generated from the plane is supplied to the railways to meet nationwide requirements. Read More