All attempts to douse a fire in an oil field by Oil India Limited (OIL) in the Tinsukia district of Assam have so far failed, over five months after it started. It is now understood to be the longest oil fire in Indian history.
A criminal investigation is now underway to determine the cause of the blowout. as well as the handling of the incident in the weeks after the explosion.
Protests against OIL are still held in the region but rarely evoke political outrage. Social media, though, has been abuzz with photographs and videos of the raging fire at the Baghjan oil well. The fire has caused massive loss to environment and wildlife besides causing huge losses to property in the nearby habitation, causing many more people to be displaced from their homes.
Oil field was operating illegally
A committee set up by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has reported that the Baghjan oil well and 26 others were being operated illegally in Assam. The NGT is headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice AK Goel.
The body had set up a committee under former judge BP Katakey to look into Baghjan fire incident. The Katakey committee has found that these oil wells did not have mandatory environmental clearance.
The final report of the NGT committee is likely next month.