Telangana Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has urged Union Power Minister R.K. Singh to order a probe through the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) on the recent fire mishap inside the Srisailam underground hydroelectric plant. Party president Bandi Sanjay met Mr. Singh on Friday and presented a memorandum seeking the probe alleging that the plant had lacked proper fire fighting systems and safety mechanisms in the event of an emergency and this led to the death of nine persons, including five engineers.
No safety upgradation was done on the plant despite two flooding incidents in 1998 and 2009 at the dam and another fire accident in 2019 at the right bank station. There was no fire alarm, no smoke, no heat or flame detectors when the incident happened which could have alerted the employees, he said and claimed that the fire permissions have not been renewed on a regular basis.
There was no fire suppression system and trapped employees were using the portable fire extinguishers which were not sufficient to put out the fire, charged the BJP leader. Employees were not trained in fire or any other mandatory emergency drills for an orderly exit. In fact, there was no emergency action plan.
Mr. Sanjay told the Minister that the exit route did not have any emergency lighting and the area was plunged into darkness as soon as the fire broke out when at least two hours lighting is supposed to be on during such crises. The employees could not escape due to these issues and succumbed, he pointed out.
The State government is solely responsible for the incident because it has been not paying dues to the Transco in thousands of crores and the Transco in turn has not been paying the Genco due to lack of funds, the latter has not been able to ensure proper safety norms, he said.
The TS government ordered probe by the CID is an “eye wash” and will serve no purpose, he claimed. He wanted Mr. Singh to constitute a probe team having experts in the fields of hydro power generation, fire fighting and fire hazard assessment. The team should visit all the hydroelectric power stations in the State and study the safety systems, added the BJP leader.