Khudia, a lesser known rivulet acting silently as a tributary of the Damodar in Jharkhand border, has actually been stifling state Irrigation department’s efforts of erecting consecutive crossbars along the affected Durgapur barrage lockgate zone precinct since yesterday since the continued flow of 1,200 cusecs along the troubled precinct could not be arrested in four days.
This eventually has led to a pandemonium in the power sector as the Mejia Thermal Power Station of the Damodar Valley Corporation has already suspended generation of its two units of 500 MW each in last 48 hours and the authority is speculating whether to suspend two more 250 MW units if water flow in the river is back in next 24 hours, the chances of which according to the officials however seems to be bleaker since the last ditch of attempt of erecting the Stype barricade of sandbags further collapsed at finishing point at 4:40 pm today.
“We have already been forced by the circumstance to suspend generation of two 500 MW units (No: 8&7) and we may have to step down generation of more units as the chances of restoration of normalcy at the barrage within next 24 hours seems to be difficult,” said Nikhil Chowdhury, Chief Engineer, MTPS. The MTPS – the largest power utility of Eastern India owns a combined capacity to generate 2340 MW.
The water-level at the MTPS that is possessing two pools of 15 Lakh Cubic Metres of water reserve has already dropped below 106 metres and according to the senior officials: “Our pumps can draw extreme till 105 metres of bottom level.” Durgapur Projects Limited – a state owned power utility already has suspended absolute generation due to exhaustion of its entire water reserve. It required 70,000 kilo litres of water to help generating 300 MW, currently.
The water flow was measured 1236 cusecs near the affected lock-gate this afternoon. “We also measured the affected lock-gate is submerged under a steady 7200 cubic metres of a sustained water block, which needs to be evacuated for that two high-power water lifting pumps are being deployed, which too would take additional two hours to vacate stored water” said Gautam Chatterjee, Secretary, Irrigation department adding: “It is surprising to note a continued flow despite of absolute halt in discharge by the upper dams at Maithon and Panchet. We suspected the discharge by the Maithon Hydel Power Station (MHPS) could be the reason behind this, besides weekly discharge of waste water by some industries.”
The MHPS located on the Barakar river above 12.9 km of the Damodar’s confluence releases 5000 cusecs to help generating 60 MW. Apurba Saha, Manager, Communication, DVC at Maithon told The Statesman: “Besides halting dam discharges, we also had suspended generation of the hydel unit. So, there’s no possibility of additional discharge from our end.”
Still, the barrage continued receiving a sustained flow and the Chief Engineer Civil), DVC told The Statesman: “Between the upper catchment dams and the barrage, some tributaries join the flow inside the 3000 square km of uncontrolled catchment and Khudia – a rivulet is the powerful contributor to this. Especially, it gathers percolated water from the hilly jungle terrains of Jharkhand where monsoon downpour ceased barely eight days ago.” He added: “Its discharge is never counted.”