Baghjan tragedy: Three days after slapping a closure notice on Oil India Limited, Assam Pollution Control Board revokes its order

Guwahati: The Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) on June 19 slapped a ‘closure notice’ on Oil India Limited to shut down production as well as drilling operations at all installations at its Baghjan oilfield. However, in a sigh of relief to Oil India Limited, the board withdrew its order just three days after serving it but on conditions.

The development came as OIL on Sunday said that it will approach the Gauhati High Court on Monday challenging the ‘closure notice’.

The PCBA in a letter to OIL set five conditions for the PSU after withdrawing its order. The PCBA directed OIL to submit a detailed and time-bound environmental management plan within 15 days for environmental mitigation and extinguishing of fire and apply for consent to operate for each and every drilling, production and other installations along with environmental management plan and requisite documents within one month.

“They have to submit all details of hazardous wastes generated, disposed and treatment facilities as per the Hazardous and Other Waste (Management and Trans-boundary Movement) Rules, 2016. They have to apply for authorization under E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016 and take necessary action for proper disposal of E-waste,” the PCBA letter read.

The letter also stated, “They have to submit the return as per Batteries (Management & Handling) Rules, 2001 framed under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 within July 31, 2020.”

“Closure may take months. We have to kill each well so that there is no danger to surrounding areas. The valve cannot take pressure for a long time and there will be blowout after blowout,” a spokesman of the OIL had said indicating serious immediate implications if OIL was made to leave the site immediately.

The Baghjan oil field has a total of 22 producing wells – 18 crude and 4 gas. The oil field has been operating since 2003.

Image Source: The Print


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A multimedia journalist based out of Guwahati, covering public policy, healthcare, and social issues.


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