TINSUKIA: In a significant setback to the Oil India Limited (OIL), the Pollution Control Board Assam (PCBA) has issued a closure notice directing OIL to close down all the production and drilling operations of all installations of Baghjan Oil field forthwith under Section 5 of Environment Protection Act 1986, 33A of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act 31(A) of Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act-1981 and to take all necessary measures for extinguishing the fire/blowout of Well Number BGN-5.
After the PCBA refused extension of time for reply to the show-cause notice issued to OIL on 10.6.2020, the PCBA in its closure notice issued to the Resident Chief Executive OIL vide no WB/DIB/T-396/08-09/243 of 19.06.2020 stated that the OIL nonchalantly violated the provision of law in force causing pollution to environment. The recent incident of gas leakage and subsequent blast of fire was due to "negligence and carelessness of the authority of M/s OIL Duliajan towards safety of people's life and property in neighbouring areas as well as towards protection of environment" the notice stated, adding that it violated Section 5
The closure notice mentioned that the OIL seriously violated for not obtaining prior permission/clearance from the MoEF&CC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change ) as well as the PCBA as required under the 'Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification-2006'. It added that the OIL did not obtain prior consent from PCBA to establish and operate at Baghjan for oil activities besides it has been operating without any Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP).
The notice also noted that "Baghjan is just 500 metres to the Maguri-Motapung Beel which is part of the 'Eco-Sensitive Zone' of the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park which is affected severely" besides destroying aquatic life of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and Maguri-Motapung Wetland including endangered species without any mitigation measures.
It also slammed OIL for not submitting the 'Annual Report' regularly under Section 9 of the 'Hazardous & other Waste (Management & Trans-boundary Movement) Rules-2016. It grossly violated Section 25/26 of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act and 21of Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act 1981.
Meanwhile while acknowledging the receipt of the closure notice, Deputy General Manager (PR) Tridiv Hazarika told this correspondent that the OIL will move Court for further course of action. He wondered as to how the PCBA could issue such a notice when the officials of PCB Dibrugarh inspected the site since the installation of Baghjan Oilfield in 2001 and had regular interactions since then. Surprisingly when the PCB Regional Executive Engineer in-charge Dibrugarh H Pegu was contacted, he expressed total ignorance of the notice even as the copy of the notice was sent on Friday.
Also watch: Morning Bulletin | 20th June. 2020