Locals in Baghjan in Assam’s Tinsukia district today blocked the road leading to the gas well of Oil India Limited which had suffered a blowout on May 27 and subsequently caught fire on June 9.
The Oil India Limited has controlled the fire but hasn’t been unable to “kill the well” for over last three months.
The Baghjan Gaon Yuba Milanjyoti Sangha (BGYMS) blocked the road to the Baghjan Early Production System (EPS), protesting against the delay over providing compensation to the affected families due to the accident.
On Sunday, the Oil India Limited, in their second attempt, successfully diverted the gas, spewing from the Baghjan number 5 gas well, to Early Production Unit(EPS) and flare pit.
The diversion of gas was crucial to reduce the surface level pressure of the well before the final well killing attempt can be carried out. As per the plan, a certain amount of gas was diverted to the Baghjan EPS (Early Production System), situated 4 km away, through two pipelines while the excessive gas was diverted to two nearby excavated flare pits through pipelines.
“God is not so kind to us because our newly built house was destroyed in the fire. We are staying at relief camps for the last three months with lots of hardship but nobody is bothered of our problem. We have lost everything in the fire,” said 50-year old Laboinya Saikia of Baghjan.
More than 3,000 people have been affected in the Baghjan fire.
The people of Baghjan are suffering severely due to the delay in getting compensation. Many people have lost their cropland, houses and other essential utensils in the massive fire.
The ongoing work at the Baghjan oil well site was affected due to the blockade.
“Despite several pleas, Tinsukia district administration has not released compensation to the affected villagers. We are protesting for several days near Tinsukia DC office but nobody is bothered to solve our problem,” said Tiknajyoti Hazarika, a Baghjan resident.
“The fire has brought miseries for our people because it devasted everything in the village. Many of them lost their tea garden because of continuous spewing of condensate into the village. The entire bio-diversity of Baghjan and its surrounding was affected due to the pollution. Many people are still staying at relief camps because their houses were damaged in the fire,” said Komol Baruah, a villager of Baghjan.
On June 24, National Green Tribunal(NGT) set up a committee headed by former Guwahati High Court Judge B P Katakey for compensation of affected people of Baghjan due to fire. A three categories have been created ₹ 25 lakh for families whose houses were completely destroyed , ₹ 10 lakh for houses severely damaged and ₹ 2.5 lakh for moderately damaged houses.
“We are seeking compensation under two categories which is ₹ 25 lakh and ₹ 10 lakh because most of the people have lost their property due to the inferno. Our domestic animals died in fire and our utensil were completely damaged in the fire,” said Moran.
“2,756 families were surveyed. We have given ₹ 20 lakh compensation to 12 families whose houses were fully damaged due to the fire. We have also paid ₹ 9 crore to Tinsukia Deputy commissioner for immediate financial relief to around 3,000 families. Tinsukia district administration has not submitted us the full assessment report till now. Them How can we release the compensation?” Oil India limited Spokesperson, Tridiv Hazarika said.