The Orissa government on Monday expressed its inability to provide security to the state-owned power stations. It has, instead, asked the generating companies like the Orissa Hydro Power Corp (OHPC) and the Orissa Power Generation Corp (OPGC) to make their own security arrangements.
Inadequate security has made power plants in Orissa easy targets of ultras. The Central Intelligence Bureau has classified information that vital installations are vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and it has repeatedly cautioned the state government against the laxity in security. The alerts, however, did not yield any result. The OHPC owns six power stations--Hirakud, Chiplima, Indiavati, Rengali, Balimela and Machkund, while the Ib Valley Thermal Power Station (ITPS) is owned by the OPGC.
The CISF guards NTPC Ltd’s power plants in Orissa, while private security personnel are in charge at state-owned power stations. Sometimes, guards are recruited from persons displaced owing to acquisition of land for various projects.
Easy accessibility is one of the causes that make power stations in Orissa vulnerable. While local people often use a road through the hydro power station at Chiplima to go to the Ghanteswari temple, a state highway runs through the Regali hydel power station.
Last year, it was decided at a meeting chaired by the chief secretary that the state home department would be responsible for security at the power plants, and the process would begin with the Kolab power station. A decision was also taken to construct a bridge over the river to provide an alternative way bypassing the Rengali power station. A proposal to set up a state industrial security force like the CISF had been discussed at a seminar last month. However, on Monday the state government made it clear that it would not able to provide security to power stations owing “to shortage of police personnel”. State principal home secretary TK Mishra, director general of state intelligence MM Praharaj, additional director general of police Prakash Mishra attended the meeting.