Close to 12,000 people from 10 villages depend on the Maguri Motapung wetland in Tinsukia district for their livelihood which was severely impacted by the condensates flowing uncontrollably from OIL India operated BGN 5 well from May to November 2020. Credit: Anupam Chakravartty

Tinsukia: In the middle of a wet pre-monsoon spell that hit Assam and neighbouring states last week, Ritu Chandra Moran, a resident of Baghjan village in Doomdooma district of Assam wanted to try his luck by planting kosu (taro) saplings in his farm. He tried growing paddy and maize earlier. The maize crop withered away prematurely and the cucumbers came out stunted. 

On that rainy morning, he had barely dug a few inches when oil slick oozed out of the hole meant for the stout Kosu tubers – considered as a cheap source of nutrition for humans and cattle. Moran was desperate to turn his land productive after two years since a devastating blowout in an oil rig that spewed contaminants on his land. In the peak of the COVID 19 pandemic, the rig operated by the Indian government owned Oil India Limited (OIL) experienced a blowout on May 27, 2020 releasing vast amounts of condensates into the water bodies and farms near the rig. 

Ritu Chandra Moran lost his house and farm to the devastating fire from an oil well operated by OIL on June 9, 2020. Photo: Anupam Chakravartty

On June 9, 2020, the rig caught fire that led to an explosion destroying 12 homes situated on the bank of Maguri Motapung......

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