The local people of Baghjan were resisting the PSU authorities from clearing materials from its Baghjan oil well and protested that they will allow the site to be cleared only after OIL authorities pay for the entire compensation for their damage.
The longest oil well fire
The Bajan oil well fire began on May 27, 2020, with a big blowout where three people died. The site is located next to the Dibru Saikhowa National Park (DSNP) in the Tinsukia district.
The fire lasted for five months before it was doused in November last year, with experts from Canada employing a special ‘snubbing’ technique to cap the well.
During those five months, the damage done was so severe that the people were evacuated and had to leave their homes and lands. The place in itself looks barren now and the water has become ‘smelly’ according to the locals.
The five-month-long blaze left a trail of destruction, that they had to abandon their homes, livestock, and tea gardens and run for their lives. An estimated loss of Rs 25,000 crore and a biodiversity loss of 55 percent have been caused by the blowout, according to an inquiry report from an official of the state Forest Department.
The cause for protest
The damage done from the longest fire was so severe that lead to a huge loss for the villagers of Baghjan for which it was decided by the authorities that compensation shall be paid for the damage done.
About 200-240 people had gathered and were once again preventing the OIL authorities from taking away their materials as they had not received the compensation.
People have been protesting, preventing OIL authorities from clearing materials from its closed Baghjan oil well site until full compensation for last year’s fire has been received
Tinsukia Superintendent of Police Debojit Deuri told PTI that to maintain the law and order of the situation they had to use non-lethal force.
The protestors started showering stones at the police team, which lead the police to use force to control the situation. Six protestors and a few police personnel were injured and few police vehicles were also damaged.
Deuri further added, “If there is any discontent with the amount of compensation or if someone feels that it is not being paid as specified, he can approach the appropriate authorities or courts. But preventing the OIL from clearing the site cannot be a solution.”