Assam gas well tragedy: Centre, state working together to find a solution, says Union Petroleum Minister

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday visited Baghjan oil fields in Tinsukia district to assessed the damages in the region following the gas well fire incident in the area.

Dharmendra Pradhan assured that the affected people would be provided maximum compensation for their losses and asked the people to extend their full cooperation to the government in controlling the oil well fire. He said that the visit came following directions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that his ministry is monitoring the situation.

He also said that he was in touch with Assam Chief Minister Sonowal since the fire broke out. Both the central and state governments were making all-out efforts to bring the situation under control and douse the fire, he added.

The ministers took stock of the control measures being carried out by foreign experts and specialists of Oil India Limited (OIL) and other agencies. They also visited the relief camp set up at Baghjan Dighaltorong High School for the affected people of the area and interacted with them.

The ministers also visited the relief camp set up at Baghjan Dighaltorong High School for the affected people of the area (Photo: India Today)

Offering respect and empathy to the affected people, Assam Chief Minister Sonowal said that such an incident was unfortunate and unexpected and that the state government was taking the matter very seriously.

“Additional Chief Secretary Maninder Singh has already been directed to inquire into the causes leading to the incident and submit a report within 15 days while Additional PCCF (wildlife) M.K.Yadava has been entrusted with the responsibility to carry out a study on the adverse impact of the gas well explosion on the ecology and environment of the area. The central government too had constituted a three-member high-level committee to investigate the matter,” Sonowal said.

Saying that the foreign and in-house experts of OIL and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) were trying to douse the fire at the gas well. Sonowal appreciated the resilience shown by the people of the area in dealing with such adversity.

The ministers took stock of the control measures being carried out by foreign experts and specialists (Photo: India Today)

He said that both the central and state governments had been constantly monitoring the whole situation and the damages were being assessed and assured that people would be given maximum compensation for their losses.

“Both the central and state governments stand firmly with the people of Baghjan in this moment of crisis and would do everything to alleviate difficulties of the people,” Sonowal said.

The Assam Chief Minister also announced that for bringing a permanent solution to the problems of floods and erosion in Baghjan area, the state government has earmarked an amount of Rs 27 crore which would be released soon. Apart from that, one model hospital and a veterinary hospital would also be set up in the area along with a model higher secondary school.

Development of the Tinsukia-Baghjan road, converting Maguri-Motapung Beel into an international tourist destination by both OIL and state government, providing financial assistance to women SHGs of the area, setting up a skill development centre were some other key announcements made by the Assam Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister also received a memorandum from Baghjan Gaon Milan Jyoti Juba Sangha containing various demands and assured of looking into them.

Union Minister of State for Food Processing Rameswar Teli, Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowari, Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, Minister of State for Disaster Management Jogen Mohan, Minister of State for Tea Tribes Welfare Department Sanjay Kishan, RajyaSabha MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, several MLAs, top officials of OIL, ONGC and other departments were also present during the visit.

Over 10,000 people living in the surrounding areas of Baghjan, were evacuated from the area following the gas well blowout and fire incident and shifted them to 12 relief camps.

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