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Tuesday, November 30, 2021
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Supreme Court re-constitutes panel to assess the environmental damage after massive fire at Baghjan oil well

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Following the massive fire at Oil India Limited’s (OIL) Baghjan oil well in Assam’s Tinsukia district, the Supreme Court says that it will reconstitute a panel to assess the damage it has caused to the biodiversity.

Court considers environmental damage

Court

On Monday, the Supreme Court says that it will be reconstituting a panel to assess the damage that the massive fire has caused to the environment. The massive oil well fire blowout took place at Oil India Limited’s Baghjan oil well in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

From the bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah says, “We will reconstitute the committee and it will be headed by Justice B.P. Katakey. Oil India cannot be a judge in its cause. We will delete the names of representatives of Oil India and instead incorporate some experts.”

Additionally, the bench added that the damage and provision of remedial compensation due to the loss which has been caused to the environment due to the massive blowout which took place at the OIL’s oil field will be assessed by experts.

The suggestions which have been given by the petitioners on the names of the experts will be examined by the Centre’s counsel as it has been asked by the top court. Bonani Kakkar, who is the petitioner, places suggestions before the top court with regards to the expert member who should be associated with the work.

“The court has been apprised of the fact that four out of six experts who have been suggested by the petitioner are conversant with the subject matter, having been associated with the work of the Committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal, headed by Justice B.P. Katakey,” says the top court in its order, and lists the matter for August 26.

Also Read: Mizoram Police registers theft case against Assam Police, withdraws it later

History of oil well fire blowouts and lack of funds

June 9 of last year, well number 5 located at Baghjan in Tinsukia district was caught on fire which had killed two OIL firefighters at the site.

According to senior advocate Siddharth Mitra, representing the petitioner, asserts that no funds have been provided to restore the environment after the fire.

However, Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi opposes this statement and implies that “sweeping statements” are being made without proper consideration of the sanctioned funds.

Lastly, the top courts will be asking the Ministry of Environments and Forests to appoint a nodal officer to provide funds and make arrangements for travelling for the committee members.

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