Odisha: Distressed workers approach OSPCB & Dy Collector for not shutting down Vedanta Ltd.’s Power Units

Jharsuguda: More than a hundred workers approached the doors of the Jharsuguda District Collector seeking alleviation of their woes of job security, after the State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) served a direction to Vedanta Ltd. Jharsuguda resulting in a temporary closure of 5 units of the two power plants of the company. This notice came in the wake of the incident where a breach of Ash Pond dyke wall resulted in spillage of ash slurry into nearby areas. Although the remaining units of Vedanta’s 1215MW and 2400 MW power plants have been allowed to operate for the time being, the notice has riled the workers, who are mostly locals, currently employed under Powermech, a contract vendor for Vedanta Ltd.
The workers first sought the attention of the regional branch of SPCB where they presented their representation to Mr Niranjan Mallik, for not shutting down the units citing the impact such a decision would have on the workers in Jharsuguda. Following that they met the Deputy Collector Alomani Sethi and submitted their demand letter requesting assurance that the workers in the region would not be affected. Given the woebegone state of most of the industrial complexes in the area and the impact it has had on employment of the local folk, the distressed workers put up a case for not shutting down the power plant units of Vedanta for it would affect their livelihood.
The SPCB has asked the Company for compliance on certain conditions that the company has assured adhering to, along with a request for revoking the said closure orders. The actions may require Vedanta Ltd. to purchase a temporary 200MW, upping the cost of aluminium production by a marginal amount as per the official statement released by the company following the said notice. While the company expects the smelter production volume to sustain through this crisis, it is putting forth efforts to ensure that aluminium production is not affected.

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