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120 MW thermal Bhatinda unit suffers major damage due to staff shortage
The 120 MW unit no. 3 of Bhatinda thermal plant on June 13 suffered a major breakdown allegedly due to staff shortage. All the turbine bearings of 120 MW units were damaged and the turbine got jammed in the afternoon and it may take few weeks before the unit can be restored.

According to official sources the turbine bearings were completely damaged due to loss of oil after the lubricating pumps which supply lubricating oil to turbine failed. A three-member committee has been formed by PSPCL to investigate the mishap. The committee is headed by HP Singh Chief Engineer.< The other two members are Kamaljit Singh SE Ropar thermal and Arundeep Singh, Add. SE Lehra Mohabatt thermal.

The pumps which supply lubricating oil to its turbine bearing did not start on auto due to control supply failure and the same could not be started manually as there was no staff posted. Due to loss of oil all the bearings of turbine got damaged severely and the turbine got jammed and stopped rotating.

The officials claim that it will take minimum 15 days to replace just the bearings. In case the turbine is found to be damaged after its opening this period may exceed six weeks. The exact position will be known after after turbine is openend after its cooling.

Out of the 107 sanctioned posts of AEE/AE at the plant only 59 engineers are posted. Not only this - out of the total 64 posts of turbine controllers, boiler controllers and desk controllers - only 15 are posted.

A senior PSPCL official alleged that at the time of mishap during night shift there was no technical official was posted and all the 2 posts of Turbine controllers, 2 posts of boiler controllers and 4 posts of desk controllers were vacant. It is the  PSPCL top management that has failed in its responsibility to prevent mishap as it failed to post even minimum required staff.

According to official sources this unit was commissioned in July 2012 after its renovation by BHEL. The full generation began from December 7 last year. The unit daily generates 28.80 lac units.

A senior official said that it's a lapse on the part of PSPCl as it failed to provide adequate trained manpower at thermal plant. Apart from generation loss it would cost about Rs. 30-40 lakhs to replace the damaged bearings alone. This amount will cross Rs. one crore if the turbine is found damaged even after checking.

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