Facts Box: Key Findings of Katakey Panel

On May 27, 2020, a major or fire broke out at Baghjan oil well of Oil India Limited. The fire couldn’t be put off till date. A Snubbing Unit from Canada is being brought to put off the fire.

The Katakey Panel was set up by National Green Tribunal to provide a report about the accident. BP Katakey is a retired Guwahati High Court Judge.

Key Findings of the Panel

According to the panel, OIL did not have the required consent to establish, operate and carry out drilling and testing of hydrocarbons. The panel also reported that the well was deficient in planning and supervising critical operation at the well site.

Recommendation of the panel

The panel recommended to take legal action against the officials of OIL for violating the following

  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
  • Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989
  • Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016.

According to the panel, OIL did not carry out Biodiversity Impact Assessment Study. In 2017, the Supreme Court granted permission to carry out hydrocarbon extraction from the well on the condition that OIL conducts Biodiversity Impact Assessment Study.

The panel also reported that the noise levels are above the permissible standards. It recommended that OIL should bring down its noise levels within the limits prescribed under Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control Rules), 2020.

The panel has recommended the scrutiny of all the existing projects of OIL in Assam.

The region is Ecologically Sensitive with the the Maguri Motapung wetland and Dibru-Saikhowa National Park located close by. The region in already in grave danger. The fish species in the wetland have been completely wiped out. The number of river dolphins have decreased. The endangered hoolock gibbon are facing still birth issues.

Wildlife Institute of India

The impact assessment of the Wildlife Institute of India states that high levels of carcinogenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons are found in the surrounding environment due to the fire. This according to the institute will percolate into the ground and contaminate the ground water.

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