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State-run NTPC Ltd, which was hit by Unchahar mishap that claimed 32 lives, said on Friday that the affected unit will start operations within six months after taking corrective actions in design, construction, and operations. Interestingly, out of the total 80 people affected by the incident that happened on November 1, only three were NTPC employees, while the remaining were mainly sub-contractors of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL). Terming it as the rarest incident in its history, NTPC chairman and managing director Gurdeep Singh said, “A committee headed by executive director S K Roy is set to submit a report in this regard within a month. From this experience, we will take corrective actions not only here, but in future units also.” Out of the total affected, 32 have succumbed to the injuries, 48 are under treatment in Delhi, Lucknow and Raebareli. The unit No 6 of 500 mega watt (MW) was reportedly running at a load of 200 MW during the time of the accident. “The committee is looking into whether the incident happened because of design, construction or operational issues. The major reason for the incident was the opening of economiser (that is used to capture ash particles) due to extra pressure,” Singh added. According to the company, the accumulation of ash is a normal case whenever coal change happens. In this case, the officials were trying to de-choke the bottom of the boiler when the operations were on. “Whenever the pressure is higher is furnace, there will be dripping.
In this case, it needs to be seen, even after dripping, why the pressure has gone up and led to the opening of economiser,” he said.Sources indicated that because of this, hot air, along with ash content came out leading to the incident. Responding to the allegation, that majority of the works were being done by sub-contractors, an NTPC official said that officials including AGMs were overseeing the operations. For those who succumbed to injuries, NTPC will provide an ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh, while seriously injured will get Rs 10 lakh and those injured will be given Rs 2 lakh each. “Some contractors were working on some left over works by BHEL there. This included cladding of the boiler and some painting works. The majority of those affected are contract workers,” Singh said. Out of NTPC’s total 105 coal based power units 46 units are designed, manufactured, constructed and commissioned by BHEL. According to an official, prima facie, there is no flaw in the design and construction of the unit as it has undergone several audits including safety checks. When asked whether the unit was commissioned in a hurry, the chairman said that it was commissioned on September 30, which was three months after the targeted date. He added that already a team of officials, including those from BHEL, are present to look into how soon the company can revive its operations in the unit.