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Baghjan fire caused loss of Rs 25,000 Cr, destroyed 55 pc biodiversity in area: Report

Baghjan fire caused loss of Rs 25,000 Cr, destroyed 55 pc biodiversity in area: Report
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530
Guwahati, Jun 9 (PTI) The gas blowout at Oil India

Limited''s Baghjan oilfield in Assam''s Tinsukia district last

year has caused an estimated loss of over Rs 25,000 crore and

destroyed around 55 per cent of the biodiversity in the area,

an inquiry report prepared by a senior forest official said on

Wednesday.

The report titled ''Ecology and Economy: Lessons Learnt

from Baghjan Blowout'' has been prepared by state Additional

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Wildlife

Warden M K Yadava.

It stated that 25,825 animals belonging to 41 genera

or families, and 91 scheduled animals in the Wildlife

(Protection) Act, including a Gangetic River Dolphin and two

Hoolock Gibbons, were killed in the disaster.

"Baghjan is a case of an ecological disaster and there

are chances that, in an attempt to arrive at monetary

valuations for all the losses, the route of ''shadow pricing''

was adopted.

"In it, the cost of one item and the cost of other

items for which price is not known can be subsumed and it was

decided to list a very limited number of "countable" damages

which can be directly and rationally arrived at," the report

said.

The countable losses assessed in the report based on

the above method estimated damages to the tune of Rs 25,050.61

crore and this can be realised over a period of 10 years.

Well no. 5 at Baghjan began to spew gas on May 27 last

year, before exploding on June 9 and was finally killed on

November 15. The incident resulted in the deaths of three

persons.

The condensate oil spread to a large area of 13.85 sq

km, of which 7.97 sq km got burnt almost fully, 1.02 sq km got

burnt partially and the secondary affected areas spread to

13.75 sq km, it said.

The Dibru-Saikhowa National Park got impacted to the

extent of 12.07 sq km. In all, total wetland area of 16.32 sq

km, grassland area of 5.23 sq km, rivers/streams 19.76 sq km

and forest areas of 2.13 sq km got affected due to the

disaster.

The report also observed that the Baghjan blowout

caused widespread burning, fire, sound, air and water

pollution, vibrations and ground motion causing tremors in

houses, drenching thousands of people, livestock and wildlife

in black coloured ''oil rain'' and causing stillbirth of

uncounted numbers of livestock.

Above all, it resulted in the devastation of the

Maguri Motapung Beel ecosystem and damages to the Dibru-

Saikhowa National Park ecosystem, burning of grasslands,

unbearable radiation of heat and strong blazing light.

There have been damages to tea gardens, orchards, and

fruit and vegetable gardens.

The soil has been contaminated with oil, grease and

heavy metals and needs to be treated, while tea bushes need

uprooting and output crop must be well-tested for harmful

chemicals, the report said.

The misery was further compounded by the COVID-19

outbreak and a series of flood waves, nine last year, it said.

OIL spokesperson Tridip Hazarika told PTI that the

company is studying the report and will respond after going

through it thoroughly.

Former chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had directed

Yadava in June last year to conduct a study on the effects of

the blowout on the environment and ecology of the surrounding

areas.

He was directed to assess its impact on the flora and

fauna along with different species living in the water bodies

of the area. PTI DG

ACD ACD


Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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