Assam oil well fire: Villagers launch stir against delay in compensation
The ongoing works of OIL at Baghjan in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district to cap the gas leakage and douse the fire have been affected due to the blockade. The agitated villagers staged a protest on the road by making makeshift camps
Guwahati: The villagers affected by the more than three-month-long raging fire and gas leakage from an oil well of the state-owned Oil India Limited (OIL) field at Baghjan in eastern Assam, on Thursday launched a road blockade demanding compensation, officials said.
According to the police, the affected villagers of Baghjan under the banner of Baghjan Gaon Yuba Milanjyoti Sangha launched a stir for an indefinite period at Baghjan EPS (Early Production Setup) and the road to Tinsukia and Doomdooma in protest against the delay over payment of compensation.
The ongoing works of OIL at Baghjan in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district to cap the gas leakage and douse the fire have been affected due to the blockade. The agitated villagers staged a protest on the road by making makeshift camps. OIL officials said that 2,756 families were surveyed in all.
“We have given Rs 20 lakh as compensation to 12 families whose houses were fully damaged due to the fire of Baghjan oil well. The company had also paid Rs 9 crore to Tinsukia Deputy Commissioner for financial aid to around 3,000 affected families. The Tinsukia district administration has not submitted us the full assessment report till now then how can we release compensation,” a senior OIL official told IANS over phone.
The official, on condition of anonymity, said the compensation to the affected families was given as per the directives of National Green Tribunal.
After several unsuccessful attempts OIL had earlier successfully diverted the gas and condensate to Baghjan EPS, around 550 km east of Guwahati.
“The natural gas of the well number five at Baghjan has been diverted partly into production and partly flared in two flare pits. The main aim of this operation is to reduce well head pressure of the blowout well which will help in next action for killing the well. The oil well fire and gas leakage is largely controlled, and it would take some more time to fully control the situation. Foreign experts, firefighters and OIL engineers are working on a war footing to control the situation,” OIL spokesman and Deputy General Manager Tridiv Hazarika told IANS.
Natural gas and oil condensate started leaking from an oil well of the OIL field at Baghjan 114 days back. The leakage caught fire 101 days back on June 9.
Hazarika said with the purpose of reducing the surface-level well head pressure of the blowout well number five at Baghjan, the process for restoration of diversion of flow of gas from the well head to Baghjan EPS and two flare pits was successfully implemented earlier this week.
He said the operation was carried out after foreign experts and OIL engineers completed the checking and inspection of the wellhead and safety inspection along with specific job safety analysis of entire system on Saturday.
“The flow of gas was diverted to EPS earlier this week closing the BOP (Blowout Preventer) and flaring part of the gas which was diverted to two flare pits,” the OIL official added.
Assam’s Commerce and Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said in Guwahati last week that a team of experts from Canada with all modern equipment was on the way to Baghjan to “kill” the well through “snubbing technology”.