DIBRUGARH: A damaged Oil India Ltd well in
’s Tinsukia district that had been uncontrollably spewing gas for the past 14 days turned into a raging inferno on Tuesday.
A PTI report said the fire could be seen from a distance of 30km and the billowing smoke was posing a danger to local biodiversities already ravaged following the May 27 blowout. The damaged well is located next to the
Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
The spreading fire, the roaring sound of the gushing well and large explosions caused panic among locals. Nearly 1,600 families were evacuated but no casualties were reported. Huge swathes of vegetation as well as several houses were gutted.
The fire broke out around 1.30pm while a team of specialists from
Alert Disaster Control
, which had been flown in from Singapore, was trying to stop the gas leak. An OIL spokesperson said, “A firefighter from ONGC sustained minor in juries. All officials of OIL and ONGC are being evacuated from nearby areas.
Once the situation becomes normal, the experts from Alert and the staff of OIL and ONGC will move to the site.”
Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal
spoke to Union home minister Amit Shah, defence minister Rajnath Singh and petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan and urged them to take urgent steps to douse the fire. He was assured of all kinds of assistance and was told the Air Force was on standby.
Protests broke out as the fire started, threatening lives and livelihood of locals already facing the impact of the blowout. Following the gas leak, thousands had been moved out and housed at different camps where following social distancing norms remain difficult. Earlier, pictures of a river dolphin carcassand dead fishand vegetation in the area had gone viral.
Activists blamed seepage of crude, condensate and other chemicals from the oilwell for the damage.