Guwahati: The Gauhati High Court on Monday stayed the order of Environmental Clearance (EC) given to Oil India Limited (OIL) for the exploration and drilling of seven hydrocarbon projects in the Dibru Saikhowa National Park.
The division bench, which took the decision comprised of the Chief Justice (Acting) Sri N. Kotishwar Singh and Justice Sri Manish Choudhury. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Mrinmoy Khataniar and another, for granting OIL the permission to drill in the Dibru Saikhowa National Park.
The bench had stayed the order after hearing the Counsel Debajit Kr Das, Advocate, and Mrs R.S. Choudhury, Mr H Betala, Advocates, who represented the petitioners. The bench had stayed the Environmental Clearance dated 11.5.2020 for non-compliance of the Order dated 07.09.2017of the Hon'ble Supreme Court passed in I. A. no. 3934 in W. P. (C) no. 202/2015 which required the OIL to conduct the Bio Diversity Impact Assessment study.
The Gauhati HC bench moved a step further and under its power conferred under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and on prima facie being satisfied that OIL(Oil India Ltd.) had failed to carry out the standard prescribed as reflected in the Order dated 07.09.2017of the Hon'ble Supreme Court passed in I. A. no. 3934 in W. P. (C) no. 202/2015, has stayed exploration and drilling of seven hydrocarbon projects in the Dibru Sauikhowa National Park.
In the affidavits submitted in the last hearing on November 17, the Forest department mentioned that a budget of Rs 22 lakh was given for holding the biodiversity impact study by the Forest department, but OIL had not replied to it since 2017.
While on the other hand, OIL stated in their affidavit that they will not go for any drilling till they comply with the Supreme Court's direction, which in a way shows that OIL never did the Biodiversity Impact study.