EXCLUSIVE: Sheer negligence of NTPC officials caused the mishap
Raebareli: The massive blast at National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) in Unchahaar took place due to laxity of officers holding prime positions in the management of the power plant.
The shocking fact that has come to the fore in the investigation carried out by newstrack.com/Apna Bharat reveals that the coveted and high-responsibility post of the CMD of the thermal power plant was given to an official who only had the experience of administrating 120 megawatt power plant.
Factually, none of the three GMs had any experience of running as thermal power plant. One of them had earlier worked on a hydroproject, while another had worked on a gas-hydroproject. The third GM had no experience of power production as he was a planning and system expert.
Significantly, plant's CMD Gurdeep Singh, who was elevated to the post just two months ago, himself cannot be called an aptly experienced official. According to the sources, his past record has not been very good and he was posted at a very small post in Dadri before coming to Unchahar.
What else was unearthed in the Newstrack.com/Apna Bharat probe?
Investigations are on regarding the incident. Now there will be a report after report situation which will carefully reveal or conceal the involvement of the top management of the plant as per convenience, but Newstrack.com/Apna Bharat investigation has revealed that the plan management was not able to manage the bottom ash for the last two days and a huge amount of ash had been logged inside the boiler (as high as 16 meter in height).
Despite seeing the huge logging of ash, NTPC did not stop unit hoping and ordered the workers to clear the ash manually. And for the same, the furnace manhole doors (both left and right side) at 10m level were opened.
Apart from this risky decision, the administration also engaged the workers to poke collected clinkers (molten ash) to direct same towards bottom ash hopper so that same can be cleared through hopper bottom. This decision is the sheer example of the inexperience of the department.
Lack of vision
Deciding to clean the boiler when it was functioning could be described as the most inexperienced decision which led to the mishap, leaving 32 people dead and over 200 injured.
During the cleaning process, suddenly the huge mass of clinker fell down leading to the vaporisation of the water of the hopper. It created acute pressure there. It led to a crack in the waterwall (water-tube) which contains demineralised water to maintain high temperature. The ash entered the panel through the crack. NTPC, however, has claimed that there was no problem in the waterwall.
Although, it is subject to probed that the waterwall had broken due to the same reason or it was already broken even before the day of the mishap. According to the security norms, the plant should immediately be shut down if there is any crack in the water tube.
After the fracture in the waterwall, unburnt/semi burnt coal gets carried over to second pass due to furnace pressurization, which led to the explosion in Economiser. Due to furnace pressurisation, hot slag (clinker) came out through manhole door, leaving the NTPC personnel and workers supervising the clinker removal job severely injured. Some died on the spot while many others were brought to the hospitals.
At the same time, personnel working in the vicinity of boiler got affected by released hot flue gas and ash. M/s Indwel personnel were working in the area of painting, structure and insulation, some BTL (CHP vendors) workers were working in tripper floor, and one Powertronics personnel was also in boiler for C&I job who suffered serious injuries in the mishap.
The probe has been launched to trace out the main culprits behind the blast at the NTPC which is rated amongst the nine best companies of the country.
The probe report may claim anything but it is already clear that the innocent workers lost their lives only due to sheer negligence of the high ranked officials.