No trace of missing dam workers

The four people washed away by a ruptured pipeline of the 275-MW Kopili hydroelectric project in central Assam’s Dima Hasao district remained untraced for the fifth day on Thursday. The penstock pipe carrying water to the project from North Eastern Electric Power Corporation’s reservoir burst at around 6.30 a.m. on Monday.

“We are waiting for the water to recede before starting the search and rescue operations,” a corporation official said, declining to be quoted. He said they hoped the flow of water would be checked in the next 24 hours after workers managed to lower the sluice gate at the intake point of the ruptured pipeline.

Experts roped in

Experts from NHPC Limited, BHEL and other agencies have also been working to bring the situation under control, he said.

Three of the missing people were NEEPCO employees. The fourth was employed by a firm engaged in maintaining the pipeline.

The corporation had in a statement said the pipelines of the project had been repaired in 2018. The public sector NEEPCO, headquartered in Shillong, runs the project that was commissioned in March 1984.

The Opposition Congress, however, said the pipelines were past their expiry date in 2014 and the energy PSU had been provided ₹200 crore to replace them. Party’s senior spokesperson Durga Das Boro said the disaster could have caused greater damage had there been any habitations downstream of the project site.


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