The Indian Air Force is involved in firefighting operations (File)
The families of the two Oil India Limited officials who died tackling a massive fire in an oil well in Assam's Tinsukia district will get immediate compensation, the company said in a statement amid joint efforts to control the huge blaze that can be seen from a distance of 10 kilometres. It further said that the fire has been confined to a radius of 50 metres and people living in the surrounding areas have been taken to 12 relief camps.
"The blowout well caught fire around 1.14 PM on 9.6.2020. Two OIL Employees from fire services Durlov Gogoi, Assistant Operator and Tikeshwar Gohan, Assistant Operator, lost their lives during the fire. Bodies of the employees, who were missing since yesterday, have been recovered this morning," the oil major said, adding, "Immediate compensation is being disbursed to the families of two OIL employees, who sacrificed their lives."
"Four persons (two from OIL, one from ONGC and one from contractor) sustained minor injury and have been given immediate medical help," it added.
The Indian Air Force is involved in firefighting operations, while the Army is helping the NDRF and the local authorities in rescue and relief work after the state government requested for help. The area has been cordoned off by paramilitary forces.
"Currently, fire tenders are spraying water to contain fire from spreading in the surrounding areas. Arrangement for additional water for fire control is in progress," the company said.
A team of experts from Singapore has been working at the well but it may take weeks to put off the fire.
The firm said basic needs of those accommodated in relief camps are being met.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday talked to the officials and took stock of the situation.
Earlier, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to brief him about the situation.
The oil well at Baghjan Tinsukia, 500 km from main city Guwahati, had a blowout on May 27 and has been leaking gas since, causing damage to the region's wetlands and biodiversity.
Images shared by residents on social media show gas condensate depositing at Maguri Beel wetland, carcasses of endangered the Gangetic Dolphins and other aquatic life floating in the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, barely 3 km from the oil field.
Paddy fields, ponds and wetlands in the adjoining villages have also been contaminated and the threat is growing with every passing day. Several small tea growers in the area have also complained about layers of gas condensates in their tea gardens.