By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, September 14, 2017: The Odisha State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) has ordered Vedanta Resources to shut three units of its captive power plant at its subsidiary’s Jharsuguda smelter and power plant following breach of regulations relating to the ash pond.

Vedanta Alumnium will have to close down three units of the captive power plant (CPP), each having a capacity of 135 megawatts (MW), according to SPCB. Similarly, two 600 mw units of the IPP will have to be shut down. The CPP capacity of Vedanta stands at 1,215 mw whereas the IPP capacity is 2,400 mw.

The SPCB in its notice has also asked the company to come back with concrete plans after which it will assess how much ash these units are generating and take a call on the future course of action, according to OSPCB member-secretary Devidutt Biswal.

Consequently, the company has had to shut 405MW worth of power plant units out of the 1,215MW plant, and half of the 2,400MW plant at the site.

The remaining plant capacity could be all shut down by October 12 if Vedanta does not fix the dyke situation.

According to the notice given to Vedanta, the 800m breach in the ash pond wall sent masses of slurry into the Bheden river and surrounding paddies.

After an ash pond breach on August 28, the board had estimated that a massive 42,24,000 tonnes of ash slurry had flown into the Bheden river and nearby paddy fields causing huge damage to the local environment.

On September 5, OSPCB served a show cause notice on the company, asking it to explain why consent for the smelter and power generation facilities should not be withdrawn and the plants closed.

Having been served the partial closure fiat, Vedanta on Thursday communicated to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) that the remaining six units of the CPP have been permitted to operate till October 12 while the two remaining IPP units can operate till September 20.

The pollution control board has asked Vedanta for compliance of certain conditions with concrete plans within five days.

The aluminium company informed SEBI that the closure may require a temporary power purchase of up to 200 MW which will have a marginal impact on its cost of production of aluminium. “The company expects to be able to sustain the smelter capacity without affecting its production volume,” it said.

Vedanta’s Jharsuguda smelter facility capacity is 1.6 million tonnes per annum.

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