More on Assam’s Ecological Disaster, retd scientist Saikia speaks of Govt ignoring scientific advice against drilling at Tinsukhia

Assam’s Asomiya Pratidin interviews a retired scientist with OIL who speaks of his report against drilling being ignored by the political executive; will the GOI accept liability for the destruction of natural reserves at Tinsukhia, Assam?

Image: PTI

A local TV channel ‘Asomiya Pratidin’ yesterday interviewed an eminent retired scientist of OIL with experience of work in several countries,Pradip Saikia,who came out with some remarkable revelations.He does not question the decision to drill for oil and gas in the ecologically rich region given his orientation.But he is openly critical of the slackness and bungling not only at the lower technical levels (in handling the on-going ecological disaster at OIL, Tinsukhia) but at higher levels of management.Further, though reticent,he has expressed unhappiness about the role of a ‘political hierarchy’ in the chain of action that has led to this enormous disaster.That, in my opinion, should uphold misgivings in my first article about the general presence of such political interest in various mishaps overtaking this country.

Saikia says he was the first specialist in the field to have discovered gas in subterranean strata at the Baghjan site,way back in 2005.His report which he says is still available in the library of OIL INDIA Ltd had been based on advanced MRI(NRI?) technology and the report had clearly stated that Baghjan site was not a reservoir of hydrocarbon gas but of gas condensate which is composed of heavier molecules.Hence, once drilled its upward thrust would be much greater than that of gas and demanded ‘extraordinary precautions’ in order to prevent fatal mishaps.But he regretted that his cautionary remarks were somehow overlooked and he felt sure that this negligence had led to this disaster.

If that is so and there is no reason to doubt his words,this agrees with the general impression gaining ground all around of a certain kind of wilful recklessness in the country about decisions of the most serious import affecting lives of thousands if not millions of people.Expert opinion is blithely disregarded if it does not suit the interest and attitude of decision-makers at the highest level.Common people in the Northeast fear that, several mega hydel projects under construction, in the northern sub-montane regions, are going to be like time bombs poised on their heads.Now, the gas fire will take more than a month to bring under control and by that time it will have ruined livelihoods of thousands of people and have inflicted severe permanent damage on the region’s ecology. The state government tasked with holding the baby has thrown around empty promises and assurances, which hardly compensate for the enormous damage.

Note:The Telehgraghreports that the NDRF recovered two bodies of fire-fighters die in gas well blowout blaze in Assam. Fifteen days after the blowout, the fire is still raging at the Baghjan oil field.Two fire-fighters of public sector major OIL were found dead in a wetland abutting the site of a major blaze at its Baghjan well, which has been “uncontrollably” spewing gas for the last 15 days in Assam’s Tinsukia district, officials said on Wednesday.The two fire-fighters had gone missing after the well caught fire and their bodies were recovered by an NDRF team Wednesday morning, Oil India Ltd (OIL) spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika told PTI.

“Their bodies were recovered from a wetland near the site. Prima facie, it looks like that they jumped into the water and got drowned, as there is no mark of burn injury. The exact cause will be ascertained only after a post-mortem,” he said.



Assam: Fourteen days later massive fire breaks out at oil well in Baghjan oilfield

The price of profit, OIL’s misadventure threatens Tinsukhia’s reserve forests & wild life sanctuaries: Assam

Assam gas -well blowout: 11 days on, threat to humans and animals remains high



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