Angul: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is observing a 12-hour dawn-to-dusk bandh in Angul district on Wednesday in protest of the closure of the Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS).
Excluding essential services, all vehicular movement, schools, colleges and all government and private offices, have been closed across the district.
The party alleged that the manner in which the TTPS plant in Talcher was shut down is unfortunate for Angul and Odisha. The central government shut it down citing pollution. As a result, more than 5,000 people, including 2,000 permanent and temporary workers, lost their jobs.
The TTPS is not providing any information on the construction of the new plant or on the progress of the work. The Central government is planning to shut down the plant and privatise it. It may be a conspiracy to impose an economic blockade on Odisha, the BJD added.
Further, the party alleged that though the plant is capable of running, it is being shut down by citing the order of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Even after repeated reminders by the CPCB, the lackadaisical attitude of TTPS authorities led to closure of the plant. In protest, the BJD will observe a bandh demanding running of the old plant and construction of a new plant.
It is worthwhile to mention that the lifespan of TTPS, a unit of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), expired on March 31 as per the guidelines of Central Electrical Regulatory Commission (CERC).
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.
Meanwhile, Orissa High Court has issued a notice to TTPS on a PIL seeking its intervention for rehabilitation of contractual employees set to lose livelihood due to closure of the power plant.
The division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray has fixed April 15 as the next date of hearing.
Earlier on March 24, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had in a letter to Union Power Minister RK Singh had asked him to take steps for the early execution of Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS) Stage-III Project.
The CM had requested the Union Minister to direct NTPC to address the concerns related to the closure of TTPS and take steps for the early execution of the TTPS Stage-III Project.