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Baghjan Well Fire: NGT Imposes Interim Fine Of Rs 25 Crore On Oil India; Constitutes Probe Committee

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked Oil India Limited (OIL) to deposit Rs. 25 crore for the damage caused to both environment and humans by the blowout and fire at Baghjan gas well in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

“In view of the prima facie case made out against OIL on the extent of damage caused to the environment and biodiversity, damage to both human and wildlife, public health and, having regard to the financial worth of the Company and the extent of damage, we direct the OIL to deposit an initial amount of Rs 25 Crores with the District Magistrate, Tinsukia District, Assam and shall abide by further orders of the Tribunal,” the order stated.

The NGT’s Principal Bench at Delhi comprising of Members SP Wangdi and Siddhanta Das constituted a committee headed by former Judge of the Gauhati High Court Judge B P Katakey to look into the matter and submit a report in 30 days.

The committee will investigate the cause of the gas and oil leaks, extent of damage caused to humans, wildlife and environment, health hazard caused to public, identify the contamination of water, air and soil in the area, if any, impact on eco-sensitive zone of Dibru Saikhowa National Park, which is situated a few kms away and the Maguri Motapung wetland nearby.

The gas well at Baghjan, situated about 500-kms east of Guwahati blew out on May 27 and caught fire on June 9 leading to deaths of two fire-fighters, displacement of over 10,000 people, caused damage to a nearby waterbody, tea gardens and the environment.

The next date for the hearing has been fixed on July 29.

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