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After Over five months , Assam’s Baghjan well fire is finally doused

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Guwahati, Nov 16: In a significant development, the fire at the Baghjan gas well of Oil India Limited in Assam’s Tisukia districts that had been on fire over five and half months following a blowout has been finally doused yesterday. The well operated by Oil India Limited (OIL) had caught fire on June 9. The Well first suffered a blow out on 27 May during work over operations. Two fire fighters and an Engineer of Oil India Limited have died at the accident site.

Oil India limited along with ONGC and experts from USA and Singapore were able to cap the fire on the well head in August and a portion of the released gas diverted for production, still there was aflame burning due to the pressure of the unused gas near the well, that has also been doused yesterday using a snubbing technology brought in by Canadian experts.

The world’s largest Civilian transport aircraft ANTONOV (AN124) was used to carry equiptment from Canada to Kolkata and then were transported by road in a 14- day long journey to reach Baghjan in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

Earlier three attempts to ‘kill’ the well using the mud-sludge technique had failed.

“The well has been killed with brine solution. Fire has been doused completely. There is no pressure in the well now and the same will be observed for 24 hours to check if there is any amount of gas migration and pressure build up. Further operation to abandon the well is in progress,” said Oil India Limited spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika. Apart from local engineers, experts from Canada, USA and Singapore have been engaged at the site.

Because of the fire, hundreds of families residing in the area were shifted to temporary camps.

The a National Green Tribunal (NGT)  has constituted a panel, which in its report, earlier this month,  had stated that Oil India Limited  was operating well at Baghjan without the required official permissions at the time of the incident.

The committee headed by retired Gauhati High Court judge Brojendra Prasad Katakey had also recommended directions to be issued to Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) to take legal action against Oil India Limited for violation of mandatory requirements.

Earlier, in a preliminary report by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) , that had studied the environmental damage caused due to gas well blowout , had found that oil has leaked into adjoining Lohit river, polluting the water and adjoining Maguri-Motapung wetland with toxic pollutants. This wetland is located within 10 KM of the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and is a part of the Dibru-Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve (DSBR).

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