With two persons reported missing from the site of the chimney collapse at the Parichha thermal power plant in Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh still untraced, a case has been filed against the Deputy General Manager of the National Building Construction Company (NBCC), BJMC and Messrs. Vishwakarma Company. The case has been filed under Sections 290 and 337 of the Indian Penal Code. The power unit's chimney was constructed by the NBCC and the two others named in the first information report (FIR) are local contractors.

The 220 feet-high chimney of the 250 megawatt extension unit of the Parichha power station collapsed on Monday causing panic in the area. Initial reports suggested that over a dozen persons, mostly labourers from Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, were buried under the debris of the collapsed structure, which was built at an estimated cost of Rs. 34 crore. Reports stated that about five persons were injured in the accident but there was no confirmation of any casualty.

Two workers missing

The Additional Director General (Law and Order), Brij Lal told reporters here on Tuesday that three persons were injured in the tragedy , who were referred to a Jhansi hospital. While two injured have been discharged, the third injured person is still undergoing treatment, Mr. Lal said. He said two labourers, identified as Mewa Lal and Shyam Sunder, were still missing more than 24 hours of the accident. They belong to Chirgaon in Jhansi district.

Relatives at site

Mr. Lal said the relatives of the missing persons were present at the accident site and were waiting for the debris of the collapsed structure to be cleared. The Uttar Pradesh police official said it would take some more time for the debris to be cleared. In fact, the authorities, including the management of the Parichha unit and the Jhansi district administration, were aware of the exact nature of the accident, which occurred during lunch time. While some managed to escape, the possibility of unlucky ones being trapped under the debris has not been ruled out.

Mayawati's criticism

Taking cue from the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's criticism of the NBCC for the quality of construction following the chimney collapse on Monday, Energy Department sources said that the company had been apprised of the slight tilt in the chimney, but the warning was ignored. Following the complaint, work on the chimney had been suspended, sources said. Ms. Mayawati raised the apprehension that not only did the accident cause a setback to the expansion plan, it would also have an adverse effect on the power supply position.

Clock put back

According to reliable estimates, the clock has been put back by about a year. The new 250 mw unit of Parichha was to become operational in June 2010.