A massive fire broke out in a damaged oil field - Oil India Ltd (OIL) - in Assam's Tinsukia district on Tuesday, June 9, even as an expert team from a Singapore-based emergency management firm is trying to plug the leakage.
The huge fire, which has created panic among locals, is visible from a distance of more than 2 kilometres. Officials in Tinsukia said that the fire may spread to adjoining areas.
A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), fire and emergency services, army and police officials have been deployed by the Assam government to minimise the loss of life and property due to the incident.
No casualty or injury reported
However, no casualty or injury has been reported at the time of filing the report. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.
Taking to Twitter, the Chief Minister's Office said, "Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal spoke to Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan over phone regarding incident of fire at the gas explosion site at the Baghjan oilfield, Tinsukia."
In a series of tweets, the CMO also said, "The CM has already directed to deploy fire & emergency services, army and police officials at the site to control the situation."
"The CM also directed district admin to ensure the safety of people and appealed to local people to not panic," it further added.
Assam CM speaks to Rajnath Singh for help
The Assam Chief Minister also spoke to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to seek help from the Indian Air Force to douse the blaze. Meanwhile, top officials of Assam are also reviewing the situation.
The NDRF team has been deployed in the area after the gas leakage started on May 27.
Take a look at the video here:
#AssamGasLeak The blowout from the Baghjan 5 gas well in Assam caught fire earlier this afternoon. “How and why we cannot say,” said OIL spokesperson. He confirmed that one firefighter has sustained injuries but is stable. @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/zszSfLWIto— Tora Agarwala (@toramatix) June 9, 2020
Around 700 families, comprising 3,500 people, have earlier been shifted to three relief camps after the leakage began.
Financial aid of Rs 30,000 to each of the affected families have been announced by the state-owned OIL. An OIL press release said that after the preliminary discussion and de-briefing session, the experts from Singapore's 'Alert Disaster Control', led by Michael Ernest Allcorn, along with the OIL team, reached Baghjan well site yesterday afternoon.
For the past two weeks, the oil well at Baghjan in Tinsukia, around 550 km east of Guwahati, has been leaking gas, which has caused enormous damage to the region's wildlife, wetlands and biodiversity.
With every passing day, the threat is growing. Farmland with standing crops, as well as ponds and wetlands in the adjoining villages have also been badly affected. Many small tea growers in the area have also claimed layers of gas condensates in their tea gardens.
Meanwhile, more than 45 environmentalists, academics, wildlife experts, writers, social activists and journalists have expressed concern over the environmental consequences of the blowout near the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, a biodiversity hotspot.
(With agency inputs)