TINSUKIA: Though Oil India Limited (OIL) initially undermined the magnitude of damage to wildlife and biodiversity of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and Motapung-Maguri wetland following oil spill from Baghjan oil well blast, recovery of large number of fish carcasses has established extensive loss of flora and fauna of the pristine ecosystem even as leaching of oil continues to percolate into the wetland from the well site.
According to eye witnesses, the team members of the one-man inquiry committee headed by MK Yadava, Additional PCCF (WL&CWLW), collected large number of fish carcasses, particularly of Kurhi (Labeo gonius) weighing 300-400 gm each. Though the fishes could not be quantified, they are allegedly in possession of one of the team members, Rajib Rudra Tariang, whom this correspondent attempted to contact. The norms appear to have been flouted in respect of the custody of the carcasses. Surprisingly, the Department of Fisheries was not taken into confidence. The DFO Dibrugarh, Pradipta Baruah told this correspondent that the carcasses sample would be sent for forensic examination to Guwahati.
With several teams joining the bandwagon to assess the damage independently, OIL's tactical move cast a shadow of doubts. Initially OIL claimed to have involved WII, Dehradun in the assessment, the latter bounced back as reflected in the proceedings of NGT. Three days after blowout, the OIL engaged local boats to scoop up oil spill from the beel, recently it engaged a couple of workers to collect dead animals from the wetland. A highly placed source informed that a huge cache of fish carcasses was retrieved by the OIL team from the oil contaminated water and purportedly taken away by the team members even as neither the wetland nor its flora and fauna belonged to them.
Though OIL denied that there was any leaching of oil into the wetland, a researcher detected continuous leaching at a coordinate point 27034? 52.5?N 95022?35.9?E.on Tuesday. The local people maintained that oil condensate at that point was noticed after blowout and following blast on June 9, the oil began leaching in the same area. Despite heavy flooding, the spill continues to accumulate though exact source is unknown.
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