Escape channel of thermal plant breached, crops damaged

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Rupnagar, Sep 16 (UNI) Hundreds of acres of standing crop was damaged after the escape channel of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal plant here breached the escape channel today.

According to official sources a leakage in the right bank of the escape channel, which is used for carrying effluent hot water of the thermal plant into the Sutlej river occured this morning. Gradually this breach widened to 50 feet as a result of which the water of the channel inundated agricultural fields spread over an area of 300 acres in Ranjitpura and Batarla villages and damaged the standing paddy crop.

The water also entered some farm houses located in the fields.

On getting the information about the breach, senior officials of the thermal plant including Deputy Chief Engineer (Civil) S C Chabba reached the spot. The water of the escape channel was gradually stopped and diverted to an old escape channel.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Arshdeep Singh Thind along with other officials of the drainage and revenue department also reached the spot to take stock of the situation arising out of the breach and to assure the farmers of providing financial help for the damaged crop.

The escape channel was constructed about two and half years back and it was breached in February 2006 for the first time when water was released in to it. The authorities had ordered an inquiry at that time to ascertain the cause of the breach. However nothing came of that inquiry.

It has been alleged that faulty design and poor quality of construction work used while constructing the channel was the cause of the breach.

The power generation of the micro hydel project set up on the escape channel was also stopped due to the breach. Sources said had there was no alternative route to divert the effluent water of the thermal plant into the Sutlej.

Meanwhile Deputy Commissioner B Purushartha said that he had directed the Chief Engineer of the thermal plant to submit a report regarding the breach. He also said that a special 'girdawari' had been ordered to assess the damaged caused to the crops due to breach in the channel so that compensation could be provided to affected farmers.

When contacted Deputy Chief Engineer (civil) S C Chabba said that the cause of the breach would be investigated and necessary remedial steps would be taken to avoid reoccurrences of such incidents.

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