Assam MP wants panel report on Baghjan blowout well implemented

The affected natural gas well was killed 173 days after the blowout affecting farmlands and water bodies around, the report said

Assam Lok Sabha member Dilip Saikia has asked the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas to immediately implement the recommendations in a report submitted by a panel headed by the State’s Chief Wildlife Warden M.K. Yadava.

The erstwhile Sarbananda Sonowal government had constituted the committee headed by Mr. Yadava to assess the environmental impact of the blowout at Well No. 5 in the Baghjan Oilfield operated by Oil India Limited (OIL). The natural gas well had caught fire less than a fortnight after the blowout on May 27, 2020.

Foreign experts were engaged to kill the well 173 days later. But by that time, three OIL employees and some birds and aquatic animals in the adjoining Maguri-Motapung wetland had died.

“I request you to kindly instruct the authority concerned to implement the M.K. Yadava report with immediate effect,” Mr. Saikia, who represents the BJP from the Mangaldoi Lok Sabha constituency, wrote to the parliamentary panel’s chairman Ramesh Bidhuri on June 28.

The report said condensate that oozed from the blowout well had affected agricultural crops and plants in the vicinity. Wind conditions had also carried the leaked gas towards Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, home to India’s only population of feral horses, less than a kilometre from Baghjan. “Wildlife Division officials noted that because of rain immediately following the leak, local waterbodies had been contaminated by the condensate,” Mr. Saikia said.

The blowout was estimated to have affected 55% of the biodiversity in the Dibru-Saikhowa landscape with 1,632 hectares of wetland, 523 hectares of grassland, 213 hectares of forest and 172 hectares of the area covering rivers and streams damaged to varying degrees.

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