North East

No trace of NEEPCO employees, search on by NDRF

Haflong (Assam), October 14: There was no trace on Monday of the four employees of NEEPCO who were feared to have been trapped inside a pump house of Kopili Hydro Electric Plant in Assam’s Dima Hasao district since its pipleine burst eight days ago.
Search operations by NDRF began late on Saturday night, six days after the incident, when water pressure decreased at the plant’s reservoir at Umrangso.
“Our priority is to locate our colleagues. An NDRF team has been conducting search operations,” NEEPCO General Manager and Kopili hydro electric project head Debotosh Bhattacharjee said.
The plant is under the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) and at least three officers and one worker of NEEPCO were feared trapped after a large portion of the plant, including the entire pump house area, was inundated due to the rupture in the pipeline that carries 12,000 litres of water per second in the early hours of October 7.
The flood not only submerged several office buildings, but also damaged more than 90 per cent of the machineries of the project, besides washing away the approach bridge of the plant.
The inter-pipeline and the valve that burst used to supply water to the pump house from its reservoir. Massive pressure in the tunnel created a water fountain rising up to several hundred feet into the sky.
NDRF and SDRF teams had reached the plant after the incident, while experts from NHPC and BHEL joined NEEPCO’s attempt to stop the water flow through the pipeline.
After the incident NEEPCO had opened all the gates of the reservoir to release excess water and reduce the pressure.
The district administration too deployed a team from the local disaster management authority to assist NEEPCO.
On Sunday, a high-powered team set up by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to probe the incident under the leadership of Hill Areas Development Minister Sum Ronghang visited the site and took stock of the situation.
Earlier, a high-level team from Delhi, including NEEPCO Chairman and Managing Director Vinod Kumar Singh, visited the site to assess the cause of the blast and said that the cause of the accident could be acidity that affected the pipeline. (PTI)