Ash pond breach: Odisha pollution watchdog asks Vedanta to close 5 units

Jharsuguda: The Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) today issued a notice to Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) asking it to close down its five units at Katikela in Odisha’s Jharsuguda district.

The company has been asked to shut two units at the thermal power plant and three units at the Captive Power Plant (CPP) in Jharsuguda.

“Consent to operate in respect of 3x135MW out of total 1215MW CPP is hereby revoked and you are hereby directed to close down operation of 3x135MW CPP forthwith and restrict power generation up to 810MW (6x135MW),” said the notice.

The pollution control board has also asked the company to comply with its directive not to discharge any industrial effluent and ash slurry from the ash pond area to any water body and land.

The significant move of the pollution watchdog comes after hundreds of acres of farmlands mainly paddy fields with standing crops were inundated with fly ash slurry following an 800 meters breach in the embankment of ash pond no.2 of captive power plant of VAL at Katikela on August 28 evening.

The incident had led to severe resentment in the area as locals demanding compensation had locked the main gate of VAL.

Alleging negligence on the part of the VAL management, Jharsuguda Collector Bibhuti Bhusan Patnaik had directed the regional office of OSPCB to file a case against it.

However, the company in a statement to BSE and NSE said: “The SPCB has asked the company for compliance of certain conditions with a concrete plan within five days. The company is complying with the order of SPCB along with a request for revoking the said closure orders.”

It said this action may require a temporary power purchase of up to 200 MW, and hence a marginal impact on cost of production of aluminium.

The company expects to be able to sustain the smelter capacity without affecting its production volume and is working towards the lifting of the closure orders at the earliest to ensure that aluminium production is not affected, said the statement. (With IANS Inputs)

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