Report on leak of furnace oil in the premises of the Chandrapura Thermal Power Station (CTPs), Chandrapura, Jharkhand, 10/11/2020

Response to the inspection report filed by the Joint Committee in the matter of Praveen Kumar Singh Vs Damodar Valley Corporation & Others. The matter relates to leak of furnace oil in the premises of the Chandrapura Thermal Power Station (CTPs), operated by the Damodar Valley Corporation, which the applicant says affected the Damodar river, its tributaries and adjoining areas. The report says that the Committee has incorrect information about the date of the incident, which happened on October 13, 2019 and not October 15, 2019.

No action was taken by the officials of the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) immediately, when the spill took place. The Joint Committee also failed to ascertain the correct quantity of oil spilled.

The committee has shown a "very casual approach to ascertain the quantity of oil leaked into river Damodar" and fully relied upon a report which was prepared by an in-house committee of M/s CTPS. The report of the Joint Committee mentioned that the quantity of oil which leaked into river Damodar was 0.600 kilo litres (600 litres). This quantity cannot be true as the said leak continued for over 41 hours and 53,000 litres of oil has flown into the Damodar river before it was detected by the District Collector, Dhanbad.

The response report of November 10, 2020 stated that media reports also mentioned that the Damodar Valley Corporation, intentionally released the water from the Tenughat reservoir to flush the oil in the river further downstream. This resulted in the oil spreading much further along the course of the Damodar river, impacting areas such as Dhanbad, Chas, Jharia and Sindri. This in turn had an adverse impact on the drinking water supply of about 20-30 lakh people.

The Committee also did not undertake any ecological assessment of the oil spill and the Joint Committee visited the site almost 11 months after the incidence, which was also the rainy season. Therefore, it is very unlikely to get any evidence in the perennial river like Damodar.