Children and women having food at Baghjan relief center on Thursday.

The inmates of Baghjan relief camp, who took shelter out there after a blow out at a well of Oil India Limited (OIL) in Eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district, are spending sleepless nights.

Around 4,000 people including elderly men, women and children have taken shelter at a nearby school at Baghjan since Wednesday after the blow out.

Baghjan is around 12 kilometers from Doomdooma and 42 kilometers from Tinsukia.

The blowout occurred at the Baghjan-5 well at 10.30 am on Wednesday. A blowout is the uncontrolled release of crude oil or gas from a well when pressure control systems fail.

Frequently, organizations and locals allege with enough objective proof that the OIL activities here have been affecting the aquatic animals (including rare Gangatic dolphins) at Dibru river, rare species of migrant avian at Maguri- Motapung Beel and wildlife in Dibru Saikhowa National Park.

A team of doctors including a senior health officer arrived this afternoon after complain of illness of several people at the relief- center.

“District administration has made arrangements in collaboration with OIL for food and other requirements for these people at Baghjan M.E.School,” Tinsukia deputy commissioner Bhaskar Pegu said.

“There are still horrible sounds of gas emissions and the people are scared,” said a local resident.

“A horrifying situation has created among people of Baghjan and Dighaltarang village after the gas emissions at Baghjan OIL. After the incident, all the residents have (around 800 families) abandoned their houses and taken shelter here,” Satyajit Moran, president of Baghjan Gaon Milanjyoti Yuva Hangha, told this correspondent.

“It has also posed threat to nature and aquatic animals. There have been casualties of aquatic animals and avians at Dangari, Dibru river and Maguri–Motapung Beel and Dibru Saikhowa National Park,” Satyajid added.

“We will not allow the OIL to carry out any activities until they ensure safety people as well as wildlife. We also demand a high level probe into the incident,” he said.

The All Moran Students’ Union and Assam Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad also demanded a probe into the incident.

“There are several deaths in recent years here due to mysterious diseases. The water here doesn’t taste good. Many suffer from respiratory diseases and cancer in the district. The pollution in water and air has alarmingly increased here,” said an elderly resident.

The people and organizations have been protesting against environmental clearance to Oil India Limited (OIL) by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and climate change for extensive drilling and hydrocarbon testing at seven locations inside Dibru Saikhowa National Park in the district.

“The abode of several endangered species of flora and fauna, including white winged wood duck (Deo Hanh ), the Feral Horse and Hoolock Gibbons, the National park is rich in biodiversity. Hence, the drilling and testing activities of OIL would affect the biodiversity of the national park,” Devajit Moran, secretary of Green Bud Society, said.

“The incident has brought to the fore the dangers oil and gas exploration poses to the people and wildlife at rivers here and Dibru Saikhowa National Park,” he said.

The blowout happened while work was underway to produce gas from a new oil and gas-bearing reservoir at a depth of 3,729 metres.

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