A massive fire has immersed a natural-gas producing well of Oil India Limited (OIL) in upper Assam’s Tinsukia district. It has been leaking gas for the last 14 days. According to the sources, the fire started this afternoon and is expected to spread in nearby areas.
The Assam government has made a request to the Air Force and the Army to help in extinguishing the fire. Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam’s Chief Minister too spoke to Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Petroleum Minister after the fire started.
Since the gas has leaked, the NDRF- National Disaster Response Force has been deployed in that area. The situation is also under review by the top officials of Assam.
‘Well killing’ experts had also been flown in from Singapore on Monday and they had joined operations this morning, sources said.
The oil well at Baghjan Tinsukia, about 500 kilometres from Guwahati, had a blowout on May 27 and has been leaking gas for the past 14 days, causing grave damage to the region’s wetlands and biodiversity.
The images shared by locals on social media displays the gas condensate deposits in the Maguri Beel wetland, carcasses of endangered Gangetic dolphins. Images also show the floating aquatic life in the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park. This park is barely three kilometres from the oil field.
Contamination has also reached to Paddy fields, ponds and wetlands in the adjoining villages with an increasing threat every day. Complaints have also been received by the area’s tea growers. They complain that in their tea gardens there are layers of gas condensates.
At least 6,000 people living in a 1.5-km radius of the natural gas producing well have been evacuated and placed in relief camps. Oil India Limited has also announced financial relief of Rs 30,000 to each to the affected families.
Till now, Assam has 2,397 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Out of 2,397 confirmed cases, 547 have recovered with 4 deaths till now.