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Power crisis awaits South as NTPC to close 2,000-MW plant

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

In a development that could spell acute power crisis in southern states, the Orissa government has asked state-run NTPC to shut down completely 2,000 MW stage-II of Talcher Super Thermal Power Station, amid concerns over fly ash disposal.

NTPC has already closed down two units of 500 MW each at Talcher stage-II, following a closure notice from the Orissa State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) on June 28.

"We expect NTPC to shut down the remaining two units by tomorrow. Already, two units (each having 500 MW capacity) has been closed down," Orissa State Pollution Control Board's Member Secretary Siddhanta Das told PTI.

The plant's stage-II, having four units of 500 MW each, supplies electricity to the southern states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Power Ministry sources said.

Sources noted that supply disruption from Talcher plant would result in severe power problems in southern states, most of which are already facing electricity shortages.

One unit of the stage II was closed on Saturday while another one was shut down today. The closing down of stage-II plant is a complex process and various protocols need to be followed, Das said.

NTPC submitted an action plan to better manage fly ash emanating from the power plant to the pollution control board on Monday, they said.

According to Das, the action plan was not up to the pollution control board's satisfaction. "We have asked them (NTPC) to come up with alternatives...," he added.

The pollution control board has raised concerns about fly ash, emanating from the plant, which could pose pollution threat to nearby crop lands and river bodies.

NTPC officials were unavailable for comment.

Das pointed out that NTPC has been cautioned about the issues related too fly ash management for the past two to three years.

The Talcher plant, located in Angul district, has a total capacity of 3,000 MW. It supplies to both eastern and southern states.

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First Published: Mon, July 04 2011. 20:25 IST