NTPC Ltd, the largest thermal power producer, has sought extension of prohibitory orders banning strikes and blockades at its Kaniha and Talcher plants for six months more starting October.
The plants have been under Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA) since May 2011, when locals started disrupting coal supplies to the plant demanding jobs. The period of ESMA is getting extended by every six months since then as per the request of NTPC.
“The situation is still not normal. We have requested the state government to continue ESMA for another six months,” said V B Phadnavis, executive director of NTPC Kaniha.
The power plant complained that neighbouring villagers sometimes disrupt coal supply in support of their demand for jobs in the plant and other issues. Power generation being an essential commodity, cannot obstructed, as per ESMA rules.
“The villagers were creating problems by blocking the gates of the plant, thereby affecting generation. ESMA must be continued for some more time,” said H Panda, plant head of Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS) of NTPC.
The state energy department said, it was essential to ensure a peaceful industrial environment to maintain continuity in generation and supply of power from Kaniha and Talcher plants of NTPC.
“The Ministry of Power has placed NTPC Kaniha under category-A from security point of view. Any strike or disruptive activity will jeopardise not only the interest of NTPC but also of Odisha,” it said while forwarding the request of NTPC to state home department.
The Talcher belt, where both the plants are located, is often affected by agitations not only by unions, but also by local villagers to press for their various demands, mostly jobs. At times, they close the plant gates, restricting movement of employees as well as materials.
“It is requested that the promulgation of ESMA prohibiting strike at NTPC, Kaniha and its ancillary area and in the TTPS, Talcher may be extended for a further period of six months with effect from 23 October,” the energy department told the home department.
The installed capacity of Kaniha power station is 3,000 Mw and that of TTPS 460 Mw. Both the units supply electricity to Odisha as well other states.
Due to frequent law and order situation in Talcher coalfield area of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), the state government in June had invoked Orissa Essential Service (Maintenance) Act (OESMA) for six months. ESMA and OESMA can be promulgated by the state government depending upon subjects covered by the both the laws. The state home department said that lawlessness has been one of the factors that hampered production in major coal mines of MCL, while issuing OESMA in the area.