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More attention to safety at Moolamattom

K.P.M. Basheer

Staff to be trained to deal with emergencies

KOCHI: The 130-MW generator that got damaged in the June 20 fire at the Moolamattom powerhouse of the Idukki hydel project will be back on the rails in two months. “We hope to repair the machine in two months,” M. Mohammedali Rawther, chief engineer in charge of the powerhouse told The Hindu.

“We will not need outside help. The in-house technicians of the Electricity Board can do the job.”

He said four of the six 130-MW generators were working in full swing now and one more, which had been shut down for annual maintenance, would be operational in a couple of days.

The fire that broke out in the control panel of the underground generator No. 5 had taken the lives of two engineers, Merin Isaac and K.S. Prabha, who had suffered extensive burns.

Mr. Rawther, who took charge of the Moolamattom powerhouse just ten days before the accident, said the safety and security practices at Kerala's largest power-generating system were being revamped.Women employees would be taken off operating duty and those in maintenance and other sections would follow a dress code.

Loose-fitting dresses and dupattas would not be allowed. He also planned to introduce six-hour work shifts for the operating staff.

Disaster management and safety training would be given to all employees at regular intervals to help them deal with a crisis.

To meet emergency situations, a rescue vehicle with a driver would be kept ready all the time. Entry to the tunnel that leads to underground generators would be restricted and there would be strict security check for staff. Safety measures would be reviewed frequently.

The Idukki hydel project accounts for nearly two thirds of the domestic power production in Kerala.

Following the accident at Moolamattom, the KSEB has reportedly started a review of the safety and security practices at all power projects.

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