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Fly ash leak from Madhya Pradesh’s NTPC plant spread to farmlands, claim villagers

Singrauli power plant. File photo.  

A dyke of a fly ash pond at a power plant of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh breached on Sunday evening, causing spillage in several acres of land.

Although it had led to environmental damage, there was no damage to human life, cattle and farms  as the spillage occurred within the NTPC compound in Shahpur, said district Collector K.V.S. Choudary. 

Preliminary assessment tells us that the breach may have been caused following excess rain, he said. “It has been raining for three-four days continuously. At this point, it’s difficult to give an estimate of the volume of the spilled fly ash.”

A team of the Pollution Control Board is visiting the site and collecting samples. It will impose a fine on the plant for environmental damage, he added. 

All the plants in the district, including the three with the NTPC which have six dykes, had been asked strengthen dykes by the district administration. “In the past, we met officials of plants and the Pollution Control Board to discuss the stability of dykes. We’ve repeatedly asked plants to check the strength of dykes,” said Mr. Choudary 

The height of the dyke was being increased when the breach occurred, he added. 

The extent of the area affected has not been calculated yet, said Avijeet Kumar Ranjan, district Superintendent of Police, and there were no human settlements inside the compound. 

Moreover, there were no complaints of missing persons or cattle with the police, he said. “Three persons, within the campus at the time of the incident, were rescued,” he added. 

Two months ago, the Essar Energy had paid ₹50 lakh as compensation to farmers of two villages in the district after tonnes of fly ash discharged from a power plant damaged their crops and some houses following heavy rain on August 7. 

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 8:45:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ash-leak-in-madhya-pradeshs-ntpc-plant-speard-to-farmlands-claim-villagers/article29614827.ece

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