TINSUKIA: In another jolt for Oil India Limited (OIL) on its proposed drilling to explore hydrocarbon reserve using Extended Reach Drilling (ERD) technology at Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, north west of the blazing Baghjan oil field, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), while admitting an appeal challenging Environment Clearance (EC) approval granted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), issued notice to MoEF&CC and Pollution Control Board, Assam.
The NGT in its order by Justice SP Wangdi and Dr. Nagin Nanda, expert member, on July 20 directed the MoEF&CC and the State PCB to submit a report as to how environmental clearance to the proposed drilling of seven wells in the Dibru Saikhowa National Park was permitted by the MoEF&CC without a Biodiversity Impact Assessment (BIA) as mandated by the Supreme Court in 2017.
The petitioners, Bimal Gogoi and Mridu Paban Phukan, in their submission pointed out that the OIL had failed to justify BIA through Assam State Biodiversity Board as drilling operation was being undertaken in Dibru-Saikhowa National Park. They also contended that public hearing was exempted owing to law-and-order situation even as EIA notification permits exemption on certain grounds subject to a proper report by State PCB, which was not adhered, the petitioners stated.
The case has been listed on August 13 for further hearing. The Eastern Zone Bench of NGT also took note of the petitioners' contention that the EIA grossly undermined the risk to the project in the EIA report stating that the risk due to 'blowout' was 'negligible and had only considered the 'blowout' risk applicable to the US and deliberately did not give data from India in general.