Tinsukia: Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal visited the site of Oil India Limited’s gas well blowout in Assam’s Tinsukia district to oversee the ongoing operations and later met the affected villagers in relief camps.
Addressing the villagers at Baghjan Dighal Tarang ME school, Pradhan said that the guilty, however powerful they may be, won’t be spared.
“Whatever can be done is being done to douse the fire. The well has to be killed to douse the fire,” Pradhan said, adding that the Centre and Assam government will help each and every affected villagers.
“Currently, OIL has already provided an interim compensation of Rs 30,000 to each affected family,” he said.
According to a report by district adminsitration, altogether 11,020 persons from 2,000 families have been affected from Tinsukia and Doomdooma revenue circles due to the blowout at Baghjan oilfield.
The June 13 dated report available with EastMojo said that the villages that have been affected include Baghjan revenue village, Dighal Tarang revenue village, Baghjan NC village (Baghjan Karua Basti area, Kochuwani of Baghjan village and part of Korua ward number 2, 3 of Baghjan village, half part of Nagbanshi and Karua Basti, Bejoli Basti area), Rangagora Natun Gaon, Gotong.
“Altogether, 3,160 farmers, agriculture area to the tune of 1,210 hectare area and 470 hectares are of small tea garden have been affected,” the report said.
The report said that a total of eight fish farmers have been affected and an area of 0.86 hectares of water area and 51 fishermen have been affected. “Altogether, 14 houses have been gutted in the fire and around 11 houses have been damaged,” it said.
“A total of 8540 persons approximately from around 1,510 families are inmates in the relief camps,” the report added.
Earlier, Baghjan Gaon Milanjyoti Yuva Sangha handed over a memorandum to Sonowal at the relief camp.
The demands included putting out the fire at the earliest and closure of the oil well number 5 for the purpose of drilling and extraction of gas, providing the blowout status of national problem and declaring economic packages, compensation of Rs 1 crore to each affected families, among others.
Sonowal said: “We, the state and the Centre, shall give maximum compensation to the affected families after assessment work is completed. A model hospital, veterinary hospital, high school, a skill development centre will be soon opened in Baghjan. The government will provide economic packages to women’s self help group.”
The world famous Maguri Motapung Beel is our swabhimaan (self respect), he said, adding: “OIL has been ordered to clean the enitre Beel of the layer of condensate oil that has polluted the water.”
Thanking the Central government, Sonowal said that petroleum minister Pradhan has been kind enough to call twice daily to check the progress. “They have called global experts from Canada, USA and Singapore to ensure that the fire is doused at the earliest,” he said.
The state and the Centre have formed multiple committee at the highest level to find out how this blowout happened and the damage to the biodiversity, added Sonowal.
On Friday, addressing a press meet at Tinsukia, Assam cabinet minister Chandra Mohan Patowary had said, “Around 3,000 families have been affected and are camped at 14 relief camps. Two camps opened newly.”
Earlier, Pradhan and Sonowal went to the blowout site where global and OIL experts briefed them about the current status and the planning ahead.