Protests are being carried out by local villagers around the site of the well blowout in Baghjan because their immediate livelihood has been impacted by the incident
Livelihoods of people living in villages located downstream of the Dibru River have been equally affected because of the incident but they have not been offered any compensation
New Delhi: State-run OIL (Oil India Limited) has lost 6,538 MT in crude oil production and 8.61 MMSCM of natural gas output since May 27 because of protests and blockades, the company said in a statement. An oilwell owned by OIL in Assam’s Baghjan has been leaking gas uncontrollably since May 27 and has become one of the worst industrial accidents in Assam’s history. The gas had caught fire during cleaning operations on June 9, leading to a huge explosion. It took two days for firefighters to douse the flames. In the process, two fire personnel of OIL lost their lives and widespread damage was caused to people’s homes in the vicinity.
The gas leak incident has been particularly dangerous because of the oilfield’s proximity to the Dibru Saikhowa national park, which is a biodiversity hotspot, and the famous migratory bird habitat Maguri-Motapung Beel in Baghjan. It has also displaced 1,610 families so far.
Baghjan: Protests by locals have affected production of crude oil and gas
According to reports in the media, protests are being carried out by local villagers around the site of the well blowout in Baghjan because their immediate livelihood has been impacted by the incident. Oil from the well has been seeping into the nearby wetlands and the natural gas condensate from the well has spread up to a radius of 5 Km from the well, falling on tea gardens, crops and grasslands. Even though a compensation of Rs 30,000 has been offered to those displaced by the incident in the immediate vicinity of the site of accident, those living farther away have been left out.
Livelihoods of people living in villages located downstream of the Dibru River have been equally affected because of the incident. However, they have not been offered any compensation. And therefore, protests and blockades are on by villagers at various loctions in Assam around Baghjan where OIL has oilfields.
Meanwhile, a detailed environment impact assessment is underway at the well blowout site in Baghjan. Regular monitoring of air quality, water quality, noise level and the presence of gas (lower explosive limit) is being carried out by OIL at wellsite, said the state-run oil PSU in an official statement. It added, “Environment Impact Assessment study is in progress by M/s ERM India Pvt. Limited, a NABET accredited consultant, to carry out the Environment and Ecological survey within the vicinity of BGN#5, including Dibru-Saikhowa National Park & Maguri–Motapung Beel.”
A preliminary assessment by a team from TERI is in progress at the well blowout site for studying air quality and noise level monitoring around Baghjan. They are also carrying out bioremediation of sludge in OIL’s installations using a technology developed in-house by the R&D Department of OIL, the statement said. In addition, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has also formed a three-member high-level committee to probe the gas leak in Baghjan.
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