TALCHER: With the Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS) facing imminent closure by March over pollution control norms violation, an all-party action committee led by Dhenkanal MP Mahesh Sahoo staged a protest opposing the move, in front of the municipality and block office here on Thursday.
The committee, which comprises lawyers, members of political parties and social activists, also demanded immediate measures to kickstart the plant’s expansion which has been hanging fire. The State government had given its nod for the 1320 MW TTPS expansion project in February last year.
The committee members raised slogans demanding continuation of TTPS operations even after the March 31 deadline. They announced a mass dharna on March 1 in front of Talcher sub collector and district collector’s office where they will submit a memorandum addressed to the President and Prime Minister in this regard.
“The closure of TTPS after March as per guidelines of Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) will have a catastrophic effect as thousands will lose their jobs. Over 2,000 contractual workers will lose work. We demand that the expansion project should start immediately with no further delay,” Sahoo told TNIE.
The MP also warned of the protest taking the shape of a mass movement if the plant shuts down which would lead to blocking coal supply from the region. He appealed to all political and social groups to lend support to the agitation.
The 460 MW TTPS will wind up operation in March, 2021 for being 50 years old as per the norms set by CERC. The State government had encouraged the NTPC, which took over the power plant in 1995, to go for expansion.
Meanwhile, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had issued an ultimatum to old power plants including TTPS to take steps to upgrade and meet the emission norms failing which they would be liable to be closed from December 31, 2020. While the plant has been continuing its operations beyond the deadline, its operations will be automatically wound up in March as per CERC order.