Initial investigations revealed that CNG leakage led to the accident, but experts are investigating to ascertain the exact cause.

As many as 15 employees were injured in an accidental fire that broke out at the combined cycle power plant in Yelahanka in the wee hours of Friday.

According to officials, the fire broke at the CNG-powered plant around 3 a.m., when 15 employees belonging to KPCL, BHEL and GE were carrying out a trial run. They were injured and shifted to hospital before the fire and emergency services were alerted.

A member of the Trust and a resident of the area, requesting anonymity, said there were activities in the plant since four to five days. “It may be a trial run. Early morning, people heard a big noise. People in the  apartments close to the plant woke up and heard sirens. They initially thought they were ambulances, but then found out they were fire tenders. The chimney of rhe plant was smoking away,” the resident said.

Four fire tenders led by district fire officer Kishore M were rushed to spot and the fire was brought under control by 4.45 a.m. The fire team cordoned off the entire area before extinguishing the fire.

Initial investigations revealed that CNG leakage led to the accident, but experts are investigating to ascertain the exact cause.

Meanwhile the fire and emergency service department found that the officials of the KPCL have not obtained the required NOC to carry out such an exercise.

In 2013, the closure of the power plant was announced as it was then a diesel generating unit.

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) had issued a show-cause notice to the then 20-year-old plant, accusing it of violating the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. The board officials had alleged that the plant was fuelled by a cheap, polluting Low Sulphur Heavy Stock (LSHS), and not by diesel. Around 40 MW power was being generated at the plant.

Later, construction of what was announced as a combined cycle power plant – and the only power plant in the city – was inaugurated by the then chief minister Siddaramaiah in June 2016. The plant was supposed to be ready by May 2018, but was met with large delays.

This July, the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered serving a notice to Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. (KPCL) over its proposal to set up a gas-based 350 MW combined cycle power plant near the Puttenahalli Lake Bird Conservation Reserve based on an application filed by the Yelahanka Puttenahalli Lake and Bird Conservation Trust. The Trust had sought nullification and cancellation of the Environmental Clearance (EC) granted by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).

KPCL MD Ponnuraj was not available for comment.

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