A major fire broke out in a power generation plant in New Delhi on Sunday severely affecting electric supply to various central Delhi localities with a minister suspecting “low maintenance” as the cause for the blaze.
No one was injured in the blaze that broke in a 100 MW transformer at the Rajghat Power Plant near the ITO at around 11:40 am.The plant generates around 170 MW power.
“A transformer caught fire. The cause of fire yet to be ascertained,” a senior fire brigade official said.
27 fire tenders were rushed to the spot which doused the blaze in 40 minutes.Prima facie, a Delhi government official said it appeared that the fire took place due to overheating in the transformer.Delhi Power Minister Harun Yusuf said the fire may have been occured due to “low maintenance” as government has already decided to close down the coal-based plant by October this year.
“I have told them to file the internal investigation report within 24 hours. It may be a case of low maintenance as we have already decided to close down the plant,” Yusuf said.
Delhi Chief Secretary P K Tripathi visited the site and said the Central Electricity Authority will carry out a detailed probe into the incident.
He is also the Chairman of GENCO, Delhi Government utility that maintains the power generation plant.
R S Rathi, Managing Director of GENCO, said he has already ordered an internal inquiry into the incident that has forced the authorities to shut down an adjacent transformer as a precautionary measure.
The Rajghat Power Plant was shut down after the incident and it did not generate any power today after the incident, an official said, adding, they are working to make the plant functional within 24 hours.
“We will try to operationalise the near-by transformer that has been closed down as a precautionary measure,” an official said. The damage is confined to the transformer only and the extent of the loses is being ascertained, he said.
Several areas in central Delhi without power during the day.The official said that power supply was affected in central Delhi areas only for 30 minutes to one hour as alternative arrangement was made immediately.
Power transmission utility TRANSCO has suspended transmission of power to it to 220/33 KW transmission line linking Rajghat.
Delhi Government has decided to close down the plant last year itself but as the newly set up 750 MW Bawana plant could not start generation due to availability of gas, they continued with the running of the plant till October this year.
The fire created panic among tourists and bystanders near Rajghat, who were asked to evacuate the area immediately.
An eyewitness said a huge explosion was heard from the power station. “We saw black clouds of smoke. We saw people running out of the power station,” he said.