BHOPAL: While 20 districts of Madhya Pradesh battle hard against the killer onslaught of the novel Coronavirus, the Singrauli district of the central Indian state has been hit by a tragedy caused by the Reliance Power plant's fly ash dyke collapse.
The Reliance Power's Ultra Mega Power Project's (UMPP) in Sasan area of Singrauli fly ash dyke collapsed on Friday evening. The flood of the toxic ash slurry from the collapsed dyke located in adjoining Harhawa village washed away six persons, including three kids, a woman and two men living in the adjoining villages.
According to Singrauli district collector KVS Chaudhary, so far two bodies, identified as eight-year-old Abhishek Shah and 35-year-old Dinesh Kumar have been retrieved from the ash slurry which has mixed in a nullah and flown to the Rihand Dam around 7 km away on the MP-UP border. Four more persons, including deceased Abhishek's nine-year-old sister Sima Kumari, their 27-year-old mother Chunkumari Shah, deceased Dinesh Kumar's three-year-old son Ankit and 28-year-old Razzad Ali are missing and feared dead, the Singrauli collector added.
Two women Keshpati Shah (28) and Reena Kumari (26) who were injured in the incident are stated stable at the hospital. NDRF team from Varanasi (which is located 230 km from the spot of the ash dyke collapse in MP) are engaged in rescue work. This is not the first fly ash dam collapse of power plants in Singrauli, which is considered the electric power hub of the MP. This is the third time such a breach or collapse has happened in the dam/dyke (which stores fly ash remains of coal lighted power plants) of any power plant in Singrauli district.
In August 2019, a similar breach of ash dyke of the Essar Power Plant in Mahan area had caused major loss of crop and damage to houses in adjoining villages. Just two months later a similar incident in NTPC's Shahpur plant had washed away crops and cattle in adjoining villages. These incidents have exposed the negligence being shown by power generating companies in construction of safe and permanent ash dykes in Singrauli, which is around 700 km from Bhopal.
According to the Singrauli collector KVS Chaudhary, the latest incident has been caused by the serious lapse on the part of the Reliance Power administration and strictest possible action will be initiated in the matter. Meanwhile, the Reliance Power said in a statement, "The break in the ash dump yard wall pushed the water leading to break in the boundary wall affecting some thatched houses and minor land parcel. The company added that it is investigating the reasons underlying the incident. Power plant operations continue as the relief and restoration work is not affected by the same.