OIL to move Gauhati HC against Pollution Control Board’s ‘closure’ notice

OIL to move Gauhati HC against Pollution Control Board’s ‘closure’ notice

Assam's major PSU Oil India Limited (OIL) has stated it will move the Gauhati High Court to file a writ petition to challenge Assam's Pollution Control Board  (PCBA) order to shut down its production and drilling operations at the Baghjan oilfield located in the district of Tinsukia.

PCBA issued a "closure notice" tothe company on Friday, alleging that it violated environmental laws whileoperating at the oilfield.

In an interview to the news agency, OIL's spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika stated OIL had the consent of PCBA for carrying out all its operations, "Oil India will move the Gauhati High Court on Monday for a stay of the closure notice if we do not receive a favourable reply from the PCBA".

Hazarika alleged that the PCBA issued theclosure notice on the same day without considering its reply, "OIL hadsent a detailed reply to the PCBA's queries and subsequently, requested it towithdraw the closure notice. The company is expecting a favourableresponse," he said.

The well number 5 at Baghjan has been spewing gas for the last 26 days and it caught fire on June 9.

Following the accident, the PCBA sent the show-causenotice on June 10, seeking details of OIL's operations for the last 15 years atBaghjan within a week.

"As the queries were related to operations for 15 years and all our senior officials were busy controlling the Baghjan well, we sought some more time on June 18, which the PCBA rejected on the same day. So we sent our replies immediately on the next day," Hazarika said.

In its closure order issued on June 19, the PCBAmentioned that OIL had sought more time for replying to the show-cause notice,which was rejected by it.

The Baghjan oilfield has a total of 22 producing wells — 18 for crude, four for gas. The oilfield has been in operation since 2003.

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