TINSUKIA, April 1: The proposed seismic survey for hydrocarbon prosperity and petroleum exploration by Oil India Ltd in Baghjan and adjoining areas in Tinsukia district is embroiled into controversy after Forest authority accorded an ambiguous permission despite protest by environmentalist groups, even as Oil India is bent on executing the multi-crore project at any cost.
While environmental groups alleged that the letter issued by the office of PCCF and Head of Forest Force vide no FG 27/Nodal/3D Seismic Survey/OIL/Tinsukia of 16.3.2018 to DGM (Geophysics) OIL Duliajan had mentioned about Baghjan RF/WLS which does not exist and conspicuously did not quote Dibru-Saikhowa tiol Park (DSNP), which is in periphery, alleged further that the permission letter ought to have been issued by PCCF (WL)-cum- Chief Wildlife Warden. A forest source tried to remove the ambiguity by saying that the Baghan RF/WLS meant the origil leased area which included present Bherjan WLS. The PCCF and HoF though accorded permission to undertake seismic operation, laid 11 conditions to OIL restricting anti-forest activities, but how far the OIL will adhere to the guidelines is a matter of concern, viewed an environmentalist.
The MoEF and Climate Change guidelines stipulated that for any activity in Protected Area (PA) it is mandatory to seek recommendation from Standing Committee of tiol Board of Wildlife (SCNBWL) after a proposal is sent from the Chief Wildlife Warden through the DFO under definite time unit. In this seismic survey case, according a source, the OIL allegedly ignored SCNBWL protocol. A source, however, said that the OIL purportedly would carry out seismic survey at 900 perpendiculars boring from Baghjan at the depth of 4000 feet to deep inside DSNP. The impact of vibration and explosion will have adverse effect on wildlife, claimed a wildlife activist.
Meanwhile, the DFO (WL) office here constituted a 12-member monitoring committee as instructed by the PCCF and HoFF with DFO Tinsukia Wildlife division as chairperson and an ADC as member secretary. Interestingly, apart from six government officials, the rest six members are complaints, thus throwing the ball into their court. This committee too is sailing into rough weather with some local organizations terming the committee invalid as it was not constituted as per commitments of DFO in a meeting held with local organizations, to which the DFO allegedly agreed upon to incorporate some experts and field visits thereafter.