Rush To Commission Project Likely Culprit In NTPC Unchahar Tragedy

Rush To Commission Project Likely Culprit In NTPC Unchahar Tragedy

Was the boiler explosion in the National Thermal Power Corporation’s Unchahar plant caused by a violation of safety norms?

Why were more than 300 casual workers present in the vicinity of the boiler that exploded, when just about half-a-dozen workers are needed to operate a boiler? Is it because the plant was commissioned in a hurry and cleared for commercial operations even before civil works were complete?

Were warning signals about problems in the boiler ignored or brushed under the carpet?

More than a week after one of the worst accidents in India’s power sector, these and other questions are coming to the fore as investigators try to establish what caused the explosion that killed 42 workers on 1 November.

The explosion took place at the 500 MW Unit 6 of NTPC’s plant in Unchahar in Rae Bareli district of Uttar Pradesh, when the workers were trying to clear coal clinkers stuck in the boiler. NTPC had said the accident happened when hot flue gases and steam escaped from an opening in the boiler following a “sudden abnormal sound”.

An investigation by ThePrint in Unchahar, however, indicates that a series of lapses could have led to the accident at the unit of India’s largest power utility, a public sector ‘Maharatna’ which contributes 24 per cent of the country’s total power generation. Read More…

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