Baghjan Fire: Rs 25 Cr interim penalty on OIL

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed an interim penalty of Rs 25 crore on PSU major Oil India over its failure to stop fire in Assam’s Baghjan oil well resulting in damage to the environment.

A bench comprising Justice S P Wangdi and expert member Siddhanta Das constituted a committee headed by former high court judge B P Katakey to look into the matter and submit a report in 30 days.

“In view of the prima facie case made out against Oil India Ltd on the extent of damage caused to the environment and biodiversity, damage to both human and wildlife, public health and, having regard to the financial worth of the Company and the extent of damage, we direct the OIL to deposit an initial amount of 25 crore with Tinsukia District Magistrate,” the bench said in its order passed on Wednesday.

The committee also comprises Member Secretary of Central Pollution Control Board, senior expert from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Dr. Sarbeswar Kalita of Guwahati University, former forest Biodiversity Board member Abhay Kumar Johari, Ajit Hazarika, ex-chairman Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited among others.

The committee shall visit and inspect the site and the area in question and examine extent of loss and damage caused to human life and wildlife.

The matter is posted for next hearing on July 29.

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