Three days after directing Oil India Limited (OIL) to close down all production as well as drilling operations in Assam’s Baghjan oil field, the Pollution Control Board Assam (PBCA) reportedly withdrew its notice on Monday, 22 June.
The Baghjan oil field was ordered shut after a gas well caught fire on 9 June. Two fire service officers of OIL lost their lives, and four people sustained ‘minor injuries’, with the fire burning down at least 15 houses. Farms and wetlands in the adjoining villages have also reportedly been affected.
The PCBA’s decision to withdraw its closure notice comes after talks held early in the morning between its chairman Y Suryanarayana and Oil India CMD Sushil Chandra Mishra, reported The Telegraph. After this, the company reportedly submitted a court affidavit and other documents and data sought by the PCBA at its Dibrugarh regional office.
The PCBA has set multiple conditions for OIL in its letter revoking the order. A detailed time-bound environmental management plan has been sought from the company within 15 days. OIL is also expected to furnish details of hazardous waste generated and disposed, treatment facilities and take necessary action for proper disposal of e-waste.
The Baghjan oil field has been in operation since 2003 and consists of a total of 22 producing wells. It was well number 5 that caught fire on 9 June and has been spewing gas uncontrollably for almost a month.
In its closure notice earlier, the PCBA had said that OIL’s regular annual report was not submitted seriously, violating the law, and it was liable to be punished under the law in force, reported news agency IANS.