Kochi: It will be 50 days on Monday since the BSES power plant at Pathalam in Eloor industrial belt closed down. Till now no measure has been taken to shift the 6500-ton naphtha fuel stored in a tank on the plant premises despite the district collector's order. “A huge security issue has now arisen with the plant shutting down. There is 6500-tonne naphtha fuel stored in tanks with resident areas nearby, including the quarters of HIL (Hindustan Insecticides Ltd). The government should immediately take action to shift it to safer place. We’ve given a written request to the district collector in this regard,” said Mr K N Gopinath, CITU district secretary.
The district collector himself had ordered shifting of the naphtha to a safer location. This after officials of the Factories and Boilers department visited the spot and pointed out the danger in storing the fuel in the tank. Two schools are functioning in the vicinity besides residential quarters, said Mr T A Venugopal, BMS district president. The potential public hazard is the possibility of a major release of naphtha from the storage tank or a break in the pipeline. The fuel release will likely result in a fire, with ignition of vapourized naphtha being most likely in refinery processing areas, an official of the Factories and Boilers department said.
Meanwhile, trade unions have moved the court demanding action from the state government on the revival of the plant. The government council is expected to make its stand on the issue before the court on February four. The plant was shut down after the Kerala State Electricity Board refused to renew power purchase agreement for the last over two years. With it unable to find any revenue, the Reliance-owned BSES Kochi Pvt Ltd formally announced its decision to stop functioning of its 165 MW power plant, being operated using naphtha fuel, on December 12 and issued ‘Lock Out’ notice to its over 150 employees.