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Oil India Ltd (OIL) Pipeline under Threat from Encroachers!

OIL

Sentinel Digital Desk

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI: How safe is the Assam stretch of the 1,167-km-long OIL (Oil India Ltd) pipeline that runs from Noonmati in Guwahati to Barauni in Bihar? The pipeline running underground, it seems, is disaster-prone because of encroachment at many places in Assam.

According to safety standards, the open space over the pipeline should be kept free from any form of construction so as to avoid any disaster arising out of Oil India Ltd leakage or pipeline burst. Strangely enough, such a safety standard is not scrupulously followed in the Assam stretch of the pipeline. Maybe, because of leniency on the part of the pipeline caretaking unit of Oil India Ltd, shops, residential houses, commercial complexes etc, have sprung up in the overground spaces of the pipeline in Guwahati itself – one being near Indian Oil Petrol Pump on the VIP Road.

Sources in the Oil India Ltd pipeline unit admit such encroachments. They claim to have taken up the matter with the respective district administrations. They also claim to have conducted a survey with the help of the district administrations and are going to start an eviction drive soon. However, as often as not, the encroachers reappear after a certain period of time after eviction drives.

How come an issue so sensitive from the point of view of public safety be left in such a careless way? Why doesn't the Oil India Ltd giant maintain a scrupulously strict monitoring mechanism for space under which its pipeline runs? Till a few years back, there was aerial surveillance with helicopters to see if any space over the Oil pipeline was encroached upon or not.

Oil India Ltd sources say that fencing the entire stretch of the pipeline is a Herculean task. At some places Oil India Ltd even allows government authorities to pave roads over the ground of the pipeline for the convenience of the public. The road leading to Basistha from Dispur Last Gate crisscrosses the open space over the OIL pipeline. OIL sources further say that encroachers reappear after eviction drives.

Also Read: Eviction Drive against alleged illegal encroachers in Karbi-Anglong leads to Uproar, One pregnant woman died

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