DIBRUGARH, June 20 - A day-long tripartite meeting involving Tinsukia district administration, Oil India Limited (OIL) and a 60-member delegation of the Baghjan Milanjyoti Yuva Sangha concluded late this afternoon, with the Yuva Sangha agreeing to give OIL a 14-day window to accede to their demands. With this, the blockade at the Baghjan EPS (early production system) has been lifted, to the relief of the OIL officials.
Tinsukia deputy commissioner Bhaskar Pegu initiated the discussion, and played a proactive role in making the Baghjan locals see reason. He was assisted by Tinsukia SP Shiladitya Chetia. The OIL delegation was led by the company�s Chairman and Managing Director Sushil Chandra Mishra, Director (HR) Biswajit Roy, Director (Operations) Pankaj Kumar Goswami, Resident Chief Executive Dilip Kumar Das and Executive Director (HR) Prasanta Kumar Borkakoty. The Milanjyoti Yuva Sangha delegation was led by its president Satyajit Moran.
The Sangha�s office-bearers said they had deliberately avoided other student and youth organisations from the discussion to stay focused on issues related to Baghjan and Kaliapani areas. Altogether 626 families of these two localities have been the worst affected in the Baghjan oilwell disaster.
Satyajit Moran told reporters that their demands on compensation and rehabilitation were discussed in detail today, and OIL has asked for time to consider these. The OIL team also assured to do whatever it can on the demands that were raised. Moran said in the event of their demands remaining unaddressed beyond July 5, they would resort to vigorous agitations.
According to the Yuva Sangha, the affected families have not received a single paisa of the promised Rs 30,000 as initial compensation to gird their loins. Moreover, the affected families under the aegis of the Yuva Sangha have also raised detailed demands for their rehabilitation, as the oilwell disaster has severely destroyed their properties and caused irreparable mental agony that can never be compensated by any monetary dole.
Speaking to this newspaper today, the president of the All Assam Muttuck Sanmilan, Saroj Gohain, who is also a scion of the erstwhile Muttuck royal family, said his organisation is suspicious of the intentions of the OIL officials in delivering a judicious compensation package to the Baghjan disaster affected families.
A majority of the affected are native Assamese families belonging to the Moran and Muttuck communities, while tea labourer families have also been affected. Gohain said 640 families of Natungaon, Balijan and Gotong villages are forced to live in three temporary shelters at Guijan, as their houses have been damaged by the incessant and unexplained tremors that have been rocking the localities since the evening of June 9. The tremors continue unabated till today, even as geo-scientists are trying to figure out why this is happening.
Gohain and his organisation�s secretary Kiron Rajkhowa said the OIL apathy towards the plight of the greater Natungaon villagers may force them to launch an intensive agitation, in support of their demands for compensation. These 640 families are currently being looked after by the Sanmilan�s members and local volunteers, with assistance from the Tinsukia district administration.
In the Dighaltarrang and other areas too, locals are miffed at the negligence by OIL in providing them proper relief. They are angry that OIL wants them to be happy with a tube of toothpaste and mosquito repellent and some food and bars of soap. �We need to get back to our normal lives,� said one angry Dighaltarrang tea worker.
Today, various organisations along with the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha staged a three-hour demonstration near Doomdooma, denouncing OIL.