OIL cannot disown responsibility on fire at Baghjan oil well: NGT

New Delhi, Feb 19 (PTI):
Oil India Ltd (OIL) cannot disown its responsibility on the fire incident in Assam’s Baghjan oil well by shifting the blame on the contractor, the National Green Tribunal Friday said while constituting a fresh six-member committee to fix responsibility for the failures of the concerned individuals in the present incident.
Well number 5 at Baghjan in Tinsukia district, had been spewing gas uncontrollably and it caught fire on June 9 last year, killing two of OIL’’s fire fighters at the site.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice AK Goel said it “prima facie” agrees that there was failure of the OIL in taking safety precautions and there is need for ensuring that such incidents do not recur. “We direct this aspect to be gone into by a six-member Committee headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in consultation with the DG Hydrocarbon and DG Mines Safety, DG Oil Industry Safety and PESO (Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization), Chief Controller of Explosives, New Delhi within three months,” the bench said.
The said Committee may review the situation and take appropriate remedial measures, including fixing responsibility for the failures of the concerned individuals in the present incident, the tribunal said.
“It may also lay down the road map for ensuring compliance of safety protocols by all similar installations. Effective execution of such road map may be ensured by the Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. The Committee may also suitably take into consideration the observations in the reports of the Committee earlier appointed,” the bench said.
With regard to the issue of accountability for the past compliances and the remedial action, the NGT also formed a seven-member joint committee comprising MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forest), CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board), State PCB, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) Assam, Chief Wildlife Warden, Assam, Member Secretary, Biodiversity Board, Assam and Member Secretary, State Wetland Authority Assam.
“Last aspect is assessing the damage to the environment and remedial restoration plan, including Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, the Maguri-Motapung Wetland.
“We direct this aspect to be looked into and remedial measures planned by the ten-member Committee headed by the Chief Secretary, Assam, nominees of MoEF&CC and CPCB, Assam Wetland Authority, State Biodiversity Board of Assam, SEIAA Assam, State PCB, Chief Wildlife Warden Assam, District Magistrate, Tinsukia, and Managing Director, OIL,” the bench said.

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