Oil India Limited on Monday said that the Pollution Control Board of Assam has decided to withdraw its notice asking the firm to stop operations at the Baghjan oil field, where a fire broke out earlier this month.
The company’s natural gas well in Assam’s Tinsukia district caught fire on June 9. A major blowout had also happened at the site on May 27. Oil India had said that the fire could take weeks to extinguish. Two of the company’s firefighters had been found dead near the well.
At least 3,000 people in a 1.5-km radius of the oil well had to be evacuated on May 27 after the blowout. Oil India Limited had approached several experts to help stop the gas leak. The oil blowout destroyed local tea gardens and water bodies in Assam, triggering protests by local residents.
“The Chairman of Pollution Control Board of Assam spoke to CMD [Chief Managing Director] -OIL today [Monday] and the closure Notice is in the process of being lifted,” Oil India Limited said in a press release. The company had said on Sunday that it would approach the Gauhati High Court if the closure order is not withdrawn.
An unidentified senior Oil India official told The Telegraph that the company has informed the Pollution Control Board of Assam of the steps it is taking to comply with the regulations.
The Pollution Control Board of Assam had alleged that the blowout at the Baghjan oil field on May 27 and the resulting fire were caused due to Oil India’s negligence. The pollution control body also accused the company of violating laws and causing damage to the environment.
In its press release on Monday, Oil India added that firefighting operations at the site are still on. The company said that a crucial packing element will soon be airlifted from Singapore. Oil India added that consignments being brought in from outside Assam were delayed due to coronavirus checks.