Fire continues as Baghjan oil field Credit: Diganta Rajkhowa

Tinsukia: The Ministry of petroleum and natural gas was caught on the wrong foot after its June 11 order on a 3-member inquiry committee to probe into the gas well blowout, mentioned the fire date “wrongly” as on June 8, sparking strong reactions back in Assam.

The “blowout” occurred on May 27 at a producing gas well number 5 of OIL at Baghjan in Tinsukia district, situated in close proximity to the Dibru Saikhowa national park and the famous migratory bird habitat Maguri-Motapung Beel, while work-over operations for extracting gas from new sand (oil and gas-bearing reservoir) at a depth of 3,729 metres was on, leaving natural gas and condensate oil to gush out and spill all around, turning an entire area of 1.5 km into a gas chamber. The well caught fire on June 9, a day after 3-member global team visited the blowout well.

“This is just an example of their ‘mistakes’ and care for Assam,” Nilutpal Phukan, an advocate, reacted.

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The Ministry of petroleum and natural gas order copy

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Speaking with this correspondent, Phukan said, this shows beyond doubt how much the Centre cares about the Northeast and people of the region.

“They know only how to extract resources of Northeast. When a high ranking babu does not know the date of one of the biggest tragedies of Assam in recent times, what do we call it if not a crystal clear example of indifference towards us?”

Phukan said, I got this order copy from the official Twitter handle of Assam minsiter Himanta Biswa Sarma (Link:

Such mistake and indifference towards us is intolerable, added Phukan.

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The order, signed by a director rank officer of the Ministry of petroleum & natural gas, said, “A 3-member high-level committee comprising director-general of directorate general of hydrocarbons CL Das, former chairman ONGC BC Das and former director ONGC TK Sengupta is constituted to inquire into the incident.”

According to the order, the mandate of the committee is to identify the lapses following laid down protocols and procedures which led to the incident, recommend short term and long term measures to prevent the recurrence of such accidents, including identifying any gaps in laid down SOP.

“The committee has to submit its order within a month,” the order read. The fire in the Baghjan gas well, meanwhile, continues to rage.

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