Six employees belonging to the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) were killed and 12 critically injured in a boiler blast on Wednesday.
According to the police, the blast happened around 10 am on Wednesday in the second thermal power plant. Pictures from the accident site show plumes of smoke billowing from one of the boilers in the plant.
“Six employees died on the spot and 17 have been injured. At least 12 have been referred to Apollo Hospital in Chennai while five employees are being treated at the hospital inside the premises. Two more employees are believed to be trapped inside the boiler and efforts are on to rescue them,” the police officer told TNM. The deceased workers have been identified as Selamarasan (25), Arun Kumar (25), Padmanabhan (30), Ramanathan (42), Nagaraj (30) and Venkatesa Perumal (37).
An employee of the power plant told TNM that the blast had occurred between 10.30 am and 11 am in unit 5 of the second phase of the plant. “We think that this could have happened because of pressure build-up inside the boiler. There is a chance of setting the wrong pressure to the boiler operations and that could have caused it,” the employee said, requesting anonymity. He also added that two units are currently not producing power and hence the staff on duty might have adjusted the pressure to this boiler to compensate for the loss of production in the other units.
This is the second such blast that has happened in the last three months in the second phase of the plant. In April, a boiler in unit 6 had exploded and four employees were killed in the blast and four other sustained injuries. According to a report, in June 2019, one person was killed and two others sustained grievous injuries after a safety valve exploded in one of the units in the second phase of the power plant.
An official from the NLC confirmed the fatalities and added that they were all employed on contract-basis in the plant.
“The unit was shut down last night and they were trying to start the unit this morning when the incident occurred. The explosion occurred at the 32-metre level of the boiler. The Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF) personnel have cordoned off the area,” the official stated.
The Thermal Power Plant-2 is a 1,470 MW facility and has seven 210 MW units currently generating 450 MW power.
(This is a developing story)