Four weeks will be required to recover Assam from gas well leak incident; residents fear the effect on biodiversity

The park formed by these rivers covers 765 square kilometers (sq km), out of which 340 sq km shape the core and the other areas consist of swamps, alluvial grasslands, riverine forests, semi-evergreen forests and wetlands comprising of the biggest willow swamp forest in north-east India.

 

Oil India Limited’s (OIL) gas well explosion in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district which burned down on Tuesday afternoon will take nearly four weeks to be entirely recovered, as claimed by OIL authorities.

 

On Tuesday, OIL authorities stated that the well blew up while clearing activities were being performed at the location. “No casualty has been reported. Fire tenders are at the site controlling the spread of fire…there’re violent protests around the well site,” the statement claimed. 

 

OIL has appealed to the chief secretary, Assam, and Tinsukia district administration for retaining law and order at the location.

 

All the OIL and Oil & Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) authorities have been vacated from the surrounding areas.

 

Specialists from Singapore-based Alert Disaster Control, who are presently on a visit to the site, and OIL, ONGC workers will get back to the location after the condition is got under control.

 

The statement further mentioned that “The situation demands the arrangement of large quantities of water, installation of high discharge pumps, and removal of debris. All the operations as per the Acute Launch Emergency Reliability Tip (ALERT) will take about four weeks,” 

Soumitra Dasgupta, additional director-general (wildlife), Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) mentioned, “We’ve written a letter to the Assam forest department for a report on the situation. Besides, we’ve asked a team from the Wildlife Institute of India, which is posted there for some other projects, to make an assessment and give us a report. The cause of concern is that the gas well is still leaking,” 

 

Also, Sanjay Kumar, director-general (forests), MoEFCC. added, “The Chief Wildlife Warden Assam, MK Yadava, is slated to visit the spot. We’re awaiting his briefing,” 

 

Local wildlife activists mentioned that the biological diversity of the area might be gone, as condensed oil had seeped into multiple crucial sites of the landscape.

 

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