By Prashant Dash
Angul, May 2: Odisha’s first thermal power project, Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS) in Angul district , which was feeding uninterrupted power to seven states since 54 years, now counts down its perish.
TTPS was forced to die on March 31, 2021 on the ground of antiquity and non compliance of environmental norms, despite it was efficiently operational to generate 460 Mega Watt power even in its old age.
The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) winded up power generation from the plant after the ultimatum of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) on December 31.
On the other hand, NTPC authorities have no definite vision to renovate the plant as per air emission standard or to replace it with a new modernized unit.
As a result, the power station near Jagannathpur village under Talcher Sub-division and its subsidiary units including the coal handling project, conveyer network, power grids, ash disposal mechanism, water treatment and coal sidings scattered over miles away, have gone deserted.
In order to have power sufficiency, Orissa State Electricity Board (OSEB) established a 460 Mega watt coal-based power project at Talcher in 1967.nIt generated 60 Mega Watt power from the first unit in February 1968. The second unit of 60 Mega Watt became operational in the very March, while the third and fourth became operational by April 1969. It expanded two additional units worth 110 Mega Watt in March 1983 for sufficient power grade coal from Jagannath Coal project of MCL and water from the Brahmani, those are at an arm’s length.
Since then, the unit had been supplying uninterrupted power to OSEB along with Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Bihar and West Bengal.
Especially, the TTPS was the only power house for Odisha to backup hydropower projects in the summer.
Analysing the feasibility and profitability of the project, NTPC took over the plant from OSEB for Rs 356 crore, by virtue of the approval of the Government of India in June 3, 1995. NTPC managed the plant with essential renovation and maintenance of all the units and the switch ward spending around Rs 437.68 crore.
Meanwhile, NTPC got centre’s nod in 2018 to add two units worth 660 Mega Watt capacity each with the existing one. Government of Odisha approved the proposal and the Grid Corporation of Odisha (GRIDCO) expressed interest to purchase 660 Mega Watt power from it.
In fact, no step got initiated to commission the expansion project in time. At the same time, neither renovation nor up-gradation was taken to keep up the project updated. Even, the authority undertook no action to comply the environment standards as per the Central Pollution Control Board’s recommendations before the shut down.
Notably, within a month from the closure of the plant, its prime machineries have started wearing. While its outside units are at the face of scrappers.
If the revival process is not initiated soon the whole plant will be perished like FCI, that has been ghost for years after closure, anticipate local elites.