Just a few weeks ago, a heavy spell of rainfall ravaged the state of Assam, including capital Guwahati. Things swiftly got worse with floods affecting seven districts and nearly 2 lakh people. While the state was still recovering from the devastating damages, a massive fire has engulfed a natural-gas producing Baghjan oil well of Oil India Limited (OIL) in upper Assam's Tinsukia district. The fire has caused major destruction and all of this is happening while the state, like the rest of India, is battling a pandemic. The oil well had been leaking gas for 14 days and the blowout from the well caught fire on Tuesday.
According to locals, the thick black smoke from the fire can be seen from a distance of more than 30 km away. At least 6,000 people living in a 1.5-km radius of the natural gas producing well have been evacuated.
Visuals From Assam Show The Destruction From The Fire
Two firefighters of Oil India Ltd lost their lives and were found dead at a wetland near the site of a massive oil well fire in Assam. "Their bodies were recovered from a wetland near the site. Prima facie it looks that they jumped in the water and got drowned as there is no mark of burn injury. The exact cause will be ascertained only after a post mortem," Oil India spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika said in a media statement. The pictures and videos being shared on social media are horrifying.
Baghjan blowout in Tinsukia has caught fire. This is something the national media won't draw ur attention. The area had seen a natural gas blowout for more than two weeks now. People nearby had been evacuated, but it's done horrifying damage to the biodiversity there.#assamfirepic.twitter.com/DFCuz9QPla
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, in a statement, said that it may take officials 25-28 days to control the fire. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Indian Air Force have been helping with evacuation and firefighting operations.
Many are blaming the rampant expansion drives of the company. "Trying to expand without following proper protocols and giving clearance only for the sake of development is always going to have devastating affects like these...#assamfire #OilIndiaLimited," wrote a Twitter user, Vikrant Gupta, in his tweet. And others are blaming the government of Assam and Oil India for not taking action for 14 days that led to this disaster.
After nonstop leakage of Gas at Oil Well Baghjan (Assam) for last 14 days serious fire broke. Hope everyone around that area is safe and sound, Assam is an integral part of India and we stand by our brothers and sisters affected by it 🙏🏻 #assamfire#SaveBaghjanSaveAssampic.twitter.com/jFRdAiEzG8
The gas well has been leaking from last 14 days but no media coverage as if no one cares about those houses,parts of forest,vehicles,fields which got burnt and the two firefighters who died. Pray for all those people who became homeless 🙏#BaghjanGasLeak#assamfirepic.twitter.com/f5yFRZahKM