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Baghjan shelter residents display anger on OIL

By Ron Duarah

DIBRUGARH, July 7 - Angry residents of shelter camps in the Baghjan area today laid siege to the Baghjan EPS (Early Production System) facility of Oil India Limited (OIL), blocking functioning of the installation for the day. The demonstration was held under the aegis of the Baghjan Gaon Milanjyoti Yuva Sangha.

Early this morning, a posse of almost a thousand people gathered outside the Baghjan EPS, blocking the entry to the facility. The slogan shouting people then squatted in front of the EPS gate, and all the time raising slogans against OIL, accusing the company of being negligent to the demands of the disaster affected families, who have been forced to stay like refugees in shelters for 42 days till today. Living conditions at the camp are a far cry from the comfort of one�s home, and 42 days in such conditions can make any individual aggrieved. Add to this the constant ground vibrations and the loud hissing sound of the fire, the agony of the shelter home residents have to be seen to be believed. The only saving grace being that the food served is of acceptable quality.

By afternoon, another group of people of the area went out in a procession towards the inferno, warning that they would immolate themselves if their demands remain unheeded. The Tinsukia DC rushed to Baghjan and persuaded the people to calm down and go back to their camps. News of this travelled up to the Chief Minister�s office, with Chief Minister Sonowal reportedly directing the Tinsukia DC to take steps and make the Baghjan residents see reason.

Earlier, members of the Sangha had on June 20 asked OIL and the Tinsukia civil administration to come up with a compensation and rehabilitation package by July 6. As the deadline came to a close, the Sangha�s members felt OIL was not according due importance to the demands raised by the native population. The indifference towards the locals, allegedly displayed by OIL�s top officials, has been a resentment point at Baghjan and Dighaltarrang since 2007, when the company started drilling for oil and gas in the area, despite public opposition to such activity, said office bearers of the Sangha. It turns out the locals� fears weren�t unfounded, as the disaster of May 27 and its further deterioration since June 9 have proved.

While the locals have desisted from extreme steps like rushing towards the inferno, locals in Baghjan have told reporters that their blockade of all OIL installations in the Baghjan Dighaltarrang area and elsewhere in the Tinsukia district won�t be reduced, until OIL tells the people how it intends to compensate and rehabilitate them.

In Duliajan, the company�s officials are �watching the developments� and making no comments. Apparently, OIL will need to spruce up its public contact if its HR personnel really want to cool the nerves of distressed sufferers of their industrial follies.

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Baghjan shelter residents display anger on OIL

DIBRUGARH, July 7 - Angry residents of shelter camps in the Baghjan area today laid siege to the Baghjan EPS (Early Production System) facility of Oil India Limited (OIL), blocking functioning of the installation for the day. The demonstration was held under the aegis of the Baghjan Gaon Milanjyoti Yuva Sangha.

Early this morning, a posse of almost a thousand people gathered outside the Baghjan EPS, blocking the entry to the facility. The slogan shouting people then squatted in front of the EPS gate, and all the time raising slogans against OIL, accusing the company of being negligent to the demands of the disaster affected families, who have been forced to stay like refugees in shelters for 42 days till today. Living conditions at the camp are a far cry from the comfort of one�s home, and 42 days in such conditions can make any individual aggrieved. Add to this the constant ground vibrations and the loud hissing sound of the fire, the agony of the shelter home residents have to be seen to be believed. The only saving grace being that the food served is of acceptable quality.

By afternoon, another group of people of the area went out in a procession towards the inferno, warning that they would immolate themselves if their demands remain unheeded. The Tinsukia DC rushed to Baghjan and persuaded the people to calm down and go back to their camps. News of this travelled up to the Chief Minister�s office, with Chief Minister Sonowal reportedly directing the Tinsukia DC to take steps and make the Baghjan residents see reason.

Earlier, members of the Sangha had on June 20 asked OIL and the Tinsukia civil administration to come up with a compensation and rehabilitation package by July 6. As the deadline came to a close, the Sangha�s members felt OIL was not according due importance to the demands raised by the native population. The indifference towards the locals, allegedly displayed by OIL�s top officials, has been a resentment point at Baghjan and Dighaltarrang since 2007, when the company started drilling for oil and gas in the area, despite public opposition to such activity, said office bearers of the Sangha. It turns out the locals� fears weren�t unfounded, as the disaster of May 27 and its further deterioration since June 9 have proved.

While the locals have desisted from extreme steps like rushing towards the inferno, locals in Baghjan have told reporters that their blockade of all OIL installations in the Baghjan Dighaltarrang area and elsewhere in the Tinsukia district won�t be reduced, until OIL tells the people how it intends to compensate and rehabilitate them.

In Duliajan, the company�s officials are �watching the developments� and making no comments. Apparently, OIL will need to spruce up its public contact if its HR personnel really want to cool the nerves of distressed sufferers of their industrial follies.

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