An environmental disaster has been raging in a part of Assam for several days now, an event that’s getting greater coverage in the backdrop of the devastating Russian oil spill.
According to Hindustan Times, a natural gas well of Oil India Limited (OIL) in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district that has been spewing gas and condensate for 13 days caught fire on Tuesday.
Large plumes of smoke can be seen emanating from Assam’s Baghjan oil well. The spill and ensuing fire is very close to Dibru Saikhowa National Park and the eco-sensitive Maguri Mottapung wetland.
There have currently been no human fatalities, but numerous animals have died and countless are suffering since the spill started. People are furious that the government gave permission for this to open in a National Park in the first place.
The Baghjan well had reported the blowout on May 27 while work was on to get oil from a new reservoir at a depth of 3,729 metres. A blowout occurs when pressure control systems fail and there is an uncontrolled release of crude oil or gas from a well. The Environment Ministry had controversially given permission for oil exploration inside Dibru-Saikhowa national Park, which is a hotspot of endangered and varied wildlife species.
For all those who said it's just okay to dig for oil in National Park areas – FIRST the oil spilled and the company can't clean it up (it's been over ten days). Countless animals have died in an endemic area— Neha Sinha (@nehaa_sinha) June 9, 2020
SECOND the oil has now caught fire.
Baghjan, Dibru-Saikhowa landscape. pic.twitter.com/vFkLRP2qXZ
Around 2000 people living near the well have been shifted to four relief camps. However, many are seriously concerned over the ecological impact of this leak and fire.