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Haldia refinery hit by water shortage

Production at the plant almost came to a grinding halt on Friday with 20 of the the 40 units being shut down

By Anshuman Phadikar in Haldia

  • Published 23.05.20, 2:28 AM
  • Updated 23.05.20, 4:24 PM
Haldia refinery
Haldia refinery (Pic: Indian Oil Corporation)

Production at the Haldia refinery of the Indian Oil Corporation has been stalled since Wednesday morning when at least five of the plant’s 40 production units were turned off ahead of Cyclone Amphan.

In the wake of the monster storm, which has left Haldia town without electricity and water for almost three days, production at the refinery almost came to a grinding halt on Friday with 20 of the plant’s 40 units being shut down because of lack of water supply.

“We are dependent on the Haldia Development Authority’s Geonkhali supply unit for water. We need 750 kilo litres of water daily,” said a senior official at the refinery.

The water treatment plant at Geonkhali produces 27 million gallon of water, 85 per cent of which is consumed by the industries in Haldia. “But they have not had electricity since Wednesday because of the severe damage to power cables and poles,” the official said.

Although refinery officials confirmed that they always had a day’s worth of water stored for emergencies, on Wednesday and Thursday, the plant used storm water to provide a much-needed fillip to the production, which had already been brought down to half by Wednesday afternoon.

Sources said at least 100 other industrial units in the port town were facing a similar crisis. Although most of them do not need water as a primary constituent like an oil refinery, several heavy machineries are dependent on water for smooth running.

“We are trying day and night to revive a few of our other supply units, but the damage to the infrastructure was too severe,” said Haldia Development Authority CEO Hari Shankar.

WBSEDL regional manager Shyamal Hazra: “With the manpower we have, we need at least one week to bring power back to the area.”

“We are giving the task top priority as industries are essential.”