Baghjan fire

The biodiversity of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park has faced a grave danger after production oil well of Oil India Limited (OIL) at Baghjan in Tinsukia caught fire while clearing operation at the oilfield site on Tuesday.

Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is just 2 km from the site, facing grave danger because of the massive fire which has destroyed more than 50 houses in the Baghjan area.

The villagers in Baghjan fled from their houses to save themselves from the massive fire.

The villagers have taken shelter at the relief camps with their belongings.

On May 27, 2020, the production oil well at Baghjan 5 was blown out while workover operations were going on at the site.

Meanwhile, nine fire tenders caught fire while they were trying to douse the flames.

Fire services from OIL and ONGC pressed into service to control the inferno.

“Fire has been spreading into the forest as well as village area in an uncontrollable way. If the fire cannot be controlled immediately, then it will have a disastrous effect on the biodiversity. The lives of the animals are at risk,” said Bijay Gogoi, an environmentalist.

“It is one of the biggest disasters so far in India. Due to the negligence on the part of OIL, the first blowout happened and they failed to control the fire in the last 14 days. Oil and gas have been continuously leaking from the site,” he added.

Meanwhile, fire tenders from Chabua-based Air Force Station and ONGC have been pressed into service to control the inferno.

“The fire will affect the entire biodiversity of the region. Already, Maguri Beel has been affected due to the constant leaking oil and gas. The massive fire is posing a serious threat to the lives of the animals of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park,” Imon Abedin, a wildlife photographer and a local, told Northeast Now.

“The villagers of Baghjan have been shifted to a safer place after the massive inferno from the Baghjan 5 oil well,” Abedin added.

The people of Baghjan area are complaining of severe headaches, breathing problems after the disaster on May 27.

Experts from Singapore based firm M/s Alert Disaster Control visited the well site on Monday to assess the available facilities for well control operation and for preparation of the plan of action.

“Initial testing carried out for Hydraulically Driven Mechanical Transporter to be used for Well Control Operation at OIL’s Engineering Workshop. Additional modifications are underway,” said an OIL press release.

“Testing of other well control equipment is in progress at OIL’s Drilling Yard. Transfer of well killing equipment to the site is in progress,” it added.

Avik Chakraborty

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