Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan while replying to a query on the Baghjan blowout in Tinsukia at Rajya Sabha on Monday said that the Oil India Limited (OIL) has taken all possible steps to minimize the impact on the environment and to recuperate from the damage caused to the crops and ecology in the vicinity of the affected areas.
“The Directorate carries out regular safety audits to check and review whether the safety standards and norms are being followed by the industry. The audits include External safety Audits & Surprise safety Audits at periodic intervals to cover all the existing installations; precommissioning safety audit of all new facilities being added to the existing installation & new installation being set up, before commissioning of the facilities. In order to prevent such accidents in future, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are also being re-visited for making improvements, if any,” stated Pradhan.
Pradhan, while replying to the query of West Bengal MP Dinesh Trivedi on whether the Government has taken any measures to limit the environmental damage inflicted by the blowout, the minister said that apart from the district administration, the Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) has been engaged for Ambient Air quality for monitoring and bioremediation whiule CSIR North East Institute of Science and Technology (NEIST) has been engaged for seismological study and IIT Guwahati has been engaged for heat impact through Thermal Imaging.
Pradhan further stated that so far 2,756 families have been identified for compensation till September 8 in Doomdooma and Tinsukia Circle. OIL has deposited ₹ 10,93,50,500/- with District Administration for providing one-time compensation at the rate of ₹30,000/- for each affected family to the 3645 families, said Pradhan.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has also directed payment of interim compensation of Rs. 25 Lakhs (whose houses have been completely gutted by fire), Rs. 10 lakhs to those whose houses have been severely damaged) and Rs. 2.5 Lakhs to those whose house have been moderately /partially damaged or whose standing crops and horticulture have been partially damaged.
The minister also replied that the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas regularly monitors and reviews various safety measures in the oil & gas sector, including Oil India Ltd. and directs the companies from time to time to take suitable measures to ensure safety in these installations. OISD, a technical Directorate of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas formulates safety standards for the entire Oil & Gas Industry.