Sonowal at Baghjan
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal along with Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan during their visit to Baghjan fire site. Image credit - Northeast Now

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday announced a slew of sops for the people affected by the Baghjan well oil blowout.

Chief minister Sonowal made the announcement during his visit to Baghjan in Tinsukia district on Sunday.

However, the announcement is seen as an attempt to assuage the simmering anger of the people, who are facing the untold miseries after the Baghjan 5 oil well blowout.

Over 7,000 people have been evacuated from their homes after the blowout occurred at the Baghjan 5 gas well of Oil India Limited (OIL) on May 27.

Sonowal accompanied Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to the relief camps at Baghjan Dighal Tarang ME School to take stock of the people staying at the camps.

Sonowal announced that a model health care facility, a veterinary hospital, a higher secondary school, a skill development centre will be set up in the area.

The chief minister further said an embankment will be constructed in the area at a cost of Rs 27 crore for permanently solving the perennial flood and erosion problem in the area.

The chief minister further announced that a concrete road will be built connecting Baghjan to Tinsukia for easing the difficulties faced by the public.

He also promised financial support to the local women self-help-groups.

“The Baghjan blowout is an unfortunate tragedy which has caused great hardship to the people. The incident has terrorised the entire people of Baghjan,” the chief minister said.

“They have to leave their homes and take shelter at relief camps for safety. This is very heartbreaking and we can feel their pain. Our aim is to control the blowout at the earliest and ensure a safe environment for the people to return to their homes,” he said.

“Whatever losses the people have suffered will be assessed thoroughly. Whether it is loss of homes, crops, agricultural land, tea plantations, betel nut trees, paan trees or bamboo groves, we will ensure proper compensation,” Sonowal added.

The chief minister also expressed confidence that the inquiry committee formed by the Centre and the state government would be able to identify the lapses which led to the blowout.

On June 11, Sonowal had deputed additional chief secretary Maninder Singh to inquire into the incident.

He has been directed to submit the report within 15 days.

The Centre has also constituted a 3-member high-level committee comprising SCL Das, director general, directorate general of hydrocarbons, BC Das, former chairman of ONGC and TK Sengupta, former director of ONGC to inquire into the Baghjan well blowout incident.

Two firefighters of Oil India Limited (OIL) lost their lives during the efforts to douse the massive fire.

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com