Guwahati: The Congress on Sunday alleged that the BJP-led government in Assam has failed to keep its promises of compensation and rehabilitation to the people of Baghjan in Tinsukia district, more than a year after the area suffered major damages due to an oil well blowout.
The Assam government is not serious about its claims of protecting the interests of the indigenous people, the opposition party said in a statement after a delegation led by its state chief Bhupen Kumar Borah visited the area earlier in the day.
The locals, with whom the delegation members interacted, claimed that apart from an interim relief package, the state government has not taken any steps for their permanent rehabilitation, the statement issued by the party’s media department chairperson Bobbeeta Sharma said.
“The affected people were promised Rs 27 crores for building embankment to stop erosion but only the foundation stone has been laid as is the usual practice of the BJP government everywhere and nothing further has been done,” it said.
The main road of the area is in deplorable condition and no effort has been seen to promote Maguri Beel, a wetland, as a tourist spot, the Congress said.
It also claimed that a model hospital that was promised in the area is yet to materialise and the local youths from the affected families, who were assured of employment opportunities, are yet to receive any government jobs.
“When the victims go to the local authorities to remind them of the non-fulfilment of their demands, they are turned away time and again. Thus, the BJP government’s pompous claims about protecting interests of indigenous people of Assam are nothing but mere rhetoric,” the statement said.
Well number 5 Oil India Ltd (OIL) at Baghjan had started to spew gas on May 27 last year, exploding on June 9. It was finally ‘killed’ on November 15, with the disaster resulting in the death of three people.
An estimated loss of Rs 25,000 crore and a biodiversity loss of 55 per cent in the surrounding areas have been caused by the blowout, according to an inquiry report prepared by an official of the state Forest Department.
Regarding compensation to the people near the Baghjan well, OIL earlier said it had deposited the money estimated by the Tinsukia district administration and the National Green Tribunal after surveying 2,756 families.
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