One killed in Chhabra power plant tragedy

Special Correspondent

JAIPUR: Celebrations were abruptly called off at the Chhabra power plant in Baran district of Rajasthan on Wednesday as the coal mill of the 250 MW second unit of the plant burst killing one person and causing injuries to 22. The second unit, foundation for which was laid in December 2005, was scheduled for synchronization this day. Senior officials of the Rajasthan Electricity Generation Corporation (REGC), including its CMD S.K. Kalla, were in the premises when the explosion took place.

The sources in REGC said the accident occurred 30 minutes after the plant's synchronization at the stipulated time at 12 noon. As the unit is being installed by BHEL most of the injured persons are part of its workforce. One of the injured is an executive engineer of the REGC. The deceased has been identified as Mahavir Sain. The injured have been admitted to various hospitals including those in Guna in the neighbouring Madhya Pradesh and in Kota.

The fact that the synchronization function was kept an in-house affair seemingly helped to avert a bigger tragedy.

The Corporation has set up a three-member enquiry committee headed by Chief Engineer of Suratgarh Thermal Power Station P.N. Singhal to probe into the accident. The committee has been asked to submit its report in a week's time.

The accident had its echoes in the Rajasthan Assembly when some members, on the basis of early reports, expressed the fear of many casualties in the blast.