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2 months on, TPS-II of NLC sees another blast, 6 dead, 16 injured so far

A source, who spoke to PSU Watch, said that the death toll could go up as many people have been injured critically in the blast at NLC

A source, who spoke to PSU Watch, said that the death toll could go up as many people have been injured critically in the blast at NLC.
A source, who spoke to PSU Watch, said that the death toll could go up as many people have been injured critically in the blast at NLC.
  • Of the 16 injured, 11 are said to have sustained over 40 percent burns and have been referred to Chennai for treatment

  • The blast has taken place at Unit V of TPS-II of NLC, whereas in May, the blast had taken place at Unit VI of the same station

New Delhi: At least six people have been killed and 16 have been injured at a boiler blast at state-run NLC (Neyveli Lignite Corporation) in Neyveli, Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday. The blast has taken place at the same TPS (thermal power station) of NLC where it took place the last time in May in which two people had died and eight were injured, as was reported by PSU Watch. A source, who spoke to PSU Watch on the condition of anonymity, has claimed that of the total tally, around six-seven were contractual employees, while the rest were regular employees. The person also said that the death toll could go up as many people have been injured critically.

The blast has taken place at Unit V of TPS-II of NLC, whereas in May, the blast had taken place at Unit VI of the same station.

NLC blast occurred as engineering staff, workers were trying to revive Unit V

According to sources, the Unit V of TPS II had shut down after tripping on June 30 night. “The workers and engineering staff were attempting to revive the unit when a fire reportedly broke out in the boiler, resulting in the explosion,” sources said. The incident occurred around 10 am.

The identities of the victims are yet to be ascertained. Of the 16 injured, 11 are said to have sustained over 40 percent burns and have been referred to Chennai for treatment. The rest have been admitted to the NLCIL General Hospital in the township, said sources. Power generation in the unit has been stalled following the accident, while all other units in the station are functioning as usual. 

The backdrop

PSU Watch had earlier reported that the May 7 fire was caused because of pressure build-up in the boiler. “That particular day, pressure had built up inside the boiler unexpectedly which caused the fire. Some fire escaped from the boiler. And at the same time, these people (the victims) were near the conveyor and got burnt. It is difficult to say right now how the pressure built up,” a source had said then. 

Second blast in 2 months. What’s happening at NLC?

The frequency of blasts at NLC raises grave questions about the safety procedures being followed at the state-run company. Multiple inquiry committees that had been set up to probe the May incident have not yet released a report either, sources have claimed. Additionally, a report published by Down to Earth magazine in May had claimed that NLC was running old units which should have been retired between 2011-15 and there were delays in the commissioning of new units. Therefore, the risk factor in operating these units was always high.  

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