Assam: OIL had no mandatory clearance, reveal expert committee to NGT on Baghjan blast

Assam: OIL had no mandatory clearance, reveal expert committee to NGT on Baghjan blast

Oil india Baghjan Oil india Baghjan

An expert committee by former Gauhati High Court judge B P Katakey on July 2, its preliminary report to the NGT on July 24 on the issue of Baghjan blast.

In that it has been revealed, that OIL “does not have, till date, the required consent to establish and/or consent to operate to either carry out drilling and testing of hydrocarbons in Well Baghjan-5".

The report cited “deficiency in understanding” and “proper planning of critical operations” for the blowout. “There was a clear mismatch between planning and its execution at site and deviations from the standard operating procedure. There were serious deficiencies, of proper levels of supervision of critical operation at the well site, both from the contractor as well as from OIL,” the report revealed.

The report also said, “the well gave more than one hour to take some corrective measures but precious time was lost in decision making as no senior officers were at site, only telephonic discussions were going on”.

The report further said that OIL did not have the mandatory prior environmental clearance for the project. It noted that while OIL started operations in Baghjan Well No 5 in November 2006, the clearance was not sought until November 2007 and it was granted only in 2011.

The committee also noted that the company was yet to conduct a biodiversity impact assessment study as mandated by a Supreme Court order that allowed it to seek clearance for exploring hydrocarbons under Dibru Saikhowa National Park in 2017.

Inside Northeast spoke to environmentalist Nirantar Gohain, whose comments were also taken into consideration by the committee. "In that report, some things are left such as people are suffering because Oil has only given daily allowances to people staying in the relief centres".

In the report, he emphasized that "the eco-tourism industry in Natun Rongagorha village has been destroyed completely and the people involved in this industry must be given adequate compensation. By involving environmental workers and the local population, a project worth 100 crores must be undertaken to reclaim the ecology.

Further, there has been an irreversible impact on the rich biodiversity in the area. He expressed concern over the Central Asian Flyway which is over the area of the blowout as the migratory routes of birds may get impacted. Additionally, he mentioned that individuals who could not be accommodated in the relief camps organised by OIL and 10 the Government of Assam are still staying in the villages and are suffering from acute food shortage. No measures regarding COVID 19 are being taken in the relief camps which have been set up by the Government of Assam. For example, in the relief camp at Guijan Higher Secondary School and Guijan Middle English School, only 5 toilets are available for 2000 residents. Government guidelines mandate that at least 66 toilets should have been available for so many residents. No measures for registration of

Also read: Assam: Draft EIA needs to halt in Jati, Mati, Bheti’s interest, says Debabrata Saikia

Earlier in Baghjan

27th May: An Oil India Limited gas well, the BGR 5, faced a blowout which spewed hydrocarbons across a huge radius raining the adjoining villages in Baghjan with associated condensate. 

As per a local observer, “OIL has given assurances to stop the fire by 7th July, although the floods are causing a big problem to that deadline. The bridge that connects the area to the rest of towns has been broken. It will definetly hamper the operations”.

As such, the Baghjan situation now faces uncertainties amid the wrath of floods and the rising cases of the corona that makes the villagers vulnerable to the disease as they are kept in relief centres and devoid of the safety of their own homes.

9th June: The blowout caught fire when well control experts from M/S Alert Disaster Control had arrived at the scene to begin work on capping the well. The fire is still raging as this report is being typed out. Villagers were evacuated immediately and sheltered in nearby schools which facilitated as relief centres. Two persons, both OIL employees, have lost their lives due to the blowout.

Ever since, there has been efforts going on to douse the flames.

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Edited By: Admin
Published On: Jul 29, 2020