Aerial view of the Baghjan oil well field which caught fire on June 9 | Photo Courtesy: Sachin Bharali

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Oil India Limited (OIL) to pay a fine of Rs 25 crore for the damage caused to the environment due to the explosion and fire at Baghjan area in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

The oil well operated by the OIL developed a burst on May 27 and continued to emit condensate and gas which on June 9 exploded and caught massive fire damaging the surrounding. The fire is yet to be doused.

The NGT also ordered for setting up a committee of experts to investigate the issues concerning the gas well tragedy and the damage caused.

A bench comprising Justice SP Wangdi and expert member Siddhanta Das in its order directed the OIL to deposit an initial amount of Rs 25 crore with Tinsukia district magistrate.

“In view of the prima facie case made out against Oil India Limited on the extent of damage caused to the environment and biodiversity, damage to both human and wildlife, public health and, having regard to the financial worth of the company and the extent of damage, we direct the OIL to deposit an initial amount of Rs 25 crore with Tinsukia district magistrate,” the bench said.

The order came on a plea filed by activist Bonani Kakkar and others alleging failure of the authorities in preventing the blowout of Baghjan oil well.

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