Nine people have died in a fire mishap inside the underground Srisailam left bank 900 (150×6) MW power house following an electrical shortcircuit that got triggered at 1030 pm last night.
Rescue operations taken up by the NDRF and teams from the State-owned mining company Singareni Collieries Company Limited, in the power house under the Telangana, were in vain due to tough smoky conditions. The plant is located about 1.2 km deep down and the only access was a tunnel, which was difficult to access due to thick smoke.
Five engineers, two technicians and two more employees from a private firm, who were trapped in the lower deck, were declared dead after more than 12 hours of relief work. The fire engulfed one of the units of the hydel power station of the Srisailam project when they were engaged in works on its battery fittings. Three others are undergoing treatment.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed shock over the unfortunate incident and described it as most tragic. Conveying his condolence to the families of those died in the mishap, he ordered a CID investigation into the incident.
Seventeen people were on shift when the fire started late last night at unit-1 of the underground tunnel power house. Eight of those at work on the upper floor of the plant managed to escape, nine others, including a division engineer, four assistant engineers, two junior plant attendants and two others from a private firm were trapped inside, and succumbed.
Due to hostile conditions in the underground pump house, the rescue operations have been tough.
According to Telangana Energy Minister G. Jagdish Reddy, “The thick smoke that engulfed the power house has hampered relief measures,”
The power house has six units of 150 mw each and the fire in the control panel one of the units is stated to have caused the mishap. As a precautionay measures, the entire generation was stopped from all the units.
According to Transco and Genco CMD D Prabhakar Rao, “It would be possible to assess the damage and cause of the accident once rescue operations are completed.”
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy, who was slated to visit the Srisailam temple site close to the dam to perform Jala Harathi Puja puja, cancelled his visit.
The Chief Minister has announced Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia to Divisional Engineer Srinivas Goud’s family and Rs 25 lakh each to other families of the dead. He also announced one job each to families of the deceased and also extending other department wise benefits.