Wary of terrorists, Centre grades power stations on threat perception

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Bhubaneswar | Updated: Mar 8 2014, 16:50pm hrs
PowerThe Ministry of Power has formed a panel for development of National Infrastructure Protection Plan in thermal power sector. Reuters
With increasing threat of terrorist activities paralysing key thermal power infrastructures, the Union power ministry has graded such installations as sensitive or hypersensitive, and asked state governments, officials of state-owned and private the electricity generation stations to ensure physical, technological and cyber security of their units.

The Ministry of Power has formed a panel for development of National Infrastructure Protection Plan in thermal power sector. The committee will be headed by a member of the Central Electricity Authority and members drawn from CISF, IB, NIC and power utilities.

The panel has already prepared guidelines for physical, technological and IT security of thermal power stations.

In Orissa, the 460 megawatt thermal power station of NTPC at Talcher and 3000 megawatt Super Thermal Power Station in Kaniha have been labelled hypersensitive by the ministry, while the upcoming 1800 megawatt thermal power station by Jindal India Thermal Power Ltd at Derang of Angul district was termed sensitive.

Similarly, the upcoming 350 megawatt thermal Power Station of KVK Neelachal at Cuttack has been marked as hypersensitive, while Jindal India Thermal Power and Monnet ISPAT Thermal Power Station at Angul was labelled sensitive.

Sources in the NTPC said the guidelines suggested creation of a nodal agency at central level to carry out classification of the projects based on threat perception and intelligence inputs. The nodal agency would prepare standard security manual with graded security guidelines, coordinate security response requirements with the power stations and law enforcement agencies, prepare roadmap and contingency response plans, develop guidelines for security audits and establish procedures for dealing with bomb threats.

They also said the guidelines contain physical security measures to be provided at the thermal power stations, such as boundary walls, biometric/iris-based access control systems, CCTV surveillance as well as operational measures to be taken by the stations like evacuation plan, record keeping, engagement of security agencies, segregation of security sensitive areas. The panel has also suggested cyber security measures.