An oil well in the Baghjan area of Tinsukia district in Assam caught fire following a blast in the oil field on June 9. The raging fire, which is still spreading, could be seen from more than 2-3 kilometres away from the location of the blast. Residents of nearby villages are fleeing helplessly with their minimum belongings. Till this report was written no fire brigade had reached the area.
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Since May 27, for almost a fortnight, natural gas in the form of hydrocarbon gas has been leaking in the oil field under Oil India Limited (OIL). There have been many protests by the people residing in the area against the destruction caused by the gas leak to their paddy fields. The neighbouring tea gardens have also faced a severe crisis when the leakage turned the soil oily black.
The Maguri Beel, a huge wetland that is very nearby to the site, has been bearing the utmost brunt of the leakage for quite a long. The aquatic bio diversity of the water body has faced a serious threat, especially the native river dolphins, which could not tolerate the hydrocarbon and their dead bodies came floating. Other aquatic lives like a variety of fish were also destroyed. The residents of the area, who are dependent on the wetland for their livelihood, have suffered huge losses in turn.
For the last 14 days, the OIL could not fix the matter. On June 7, a special team from Singapore arrived in Assam to check the problem. However, that too did not prove to be of much help, as visible from the blast and the ensuing fire.
The leakage was a result of the failure of pressure control system and what OIL could do is to spray cold water on the leaking gas and oil in order to prevent it from igniting. As the temperature in the state was on an upward curve since the last two days, the cold water spray appeared to be insufficient to prevent it from ignition which resulted in the consequent blast.