ANGUL: Hundreds of locals on Monday laid siege to the 460 MW Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS) demanding employment in the NTPC-owned plant.This agitation, which comes only two days before the public hearing for the plant expansion, has heightened fears that the meet may also face stiff opposition from locals.
In the morning, hundreds of people including women protested in front of the TTPS gate and blocked entry and exit routes. As the CISF personnel locked the gate, TTPS authorities managed to sneak in some staff and engineers before the seize began.The protests had no impact on the six units of the power plant which functioned normally. However, there were less employees and inside the plant as compared to normal days,’’ informed TTPS PRO S Mallick.
Later on the day, the protesters submitted a memorandum to Talcher Sub-Collector MK Mohanty. Mohanty said the agitators sought employment for locals besides other demands. A police team led by SDPO Hemanta Kumar Panda along with two platoon of armed forces has been deployed at TTPS.
On the other hand, TTPS General Manager Ram Kuber said, ‘’NTPC never committed jobs to locals in the plant. Besides, there are no vacancies in the plant.’’
The stir by locals before the public hearing has cast cloud over the meet which is a must for getting environmental clearance.The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) has fixed July 12 for conducting the public hearing for the proposed expansion of the TTPS. On the other hand, the State Government is yet to give green signal for the expansion plan. Recently, the high powered committee of the State Government okayed expansion of Nalco but did not approve TTPS extension.
A top authority of TTPS informed that the State Government has already signed a power purchase agreement with NTPC for expansion of the two 660 MW units. Repeat attempts to contact the Regional Officer of SPCB proved futile.