GUWAHATI, Dec 7 - Acting on PIL No. 35/2020 filed by Mrinmoy Khataniar and Amar Jyoti Deka, a division bench of Gauhati High Court comprising Chief Justice (Acting) N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Manish Choudhury on Monday stayed the environmental clearance dated 11.05.2020 for non-compliance of the order dated 07.09.2017 of the Supreme Court passed in IA No. 3934 in WP(C) No. 202/2015 that required Oil India Limited (OIL) to conduct a biodiversity impact assessment study.
The high court division bench after hearing counsel Debajit Kumar Das, advocate, and RS Choudhury, H Betala, advocates who represented the petitioner, went a step further and under its power conferred under Article 226 of the Constitution and on prima facie being satisfied that OIL had failed to carry out the standard prescribed as reflected in the Supreme Court order dated 07.09.2017, stayed exploration and drilling of seven proposed hydrocarbon projects in Dibru Saikhowa National Park.
The PIL was filed in the high court against the Centre�s nod to OIL for drilling seven wells inside Dibru Saikhowa National Park, which is adjacent to the Baghjan well tragedy site.
Contesting the Central government�s approval to OIL for drilling seven wells inside the biodiversity-rich national park, the PIL argued that if the oil exploration major was allowed to go ahead with the drilling, it could trigger Baghjan-like massive flare-ups inside the national park and completely devastate its flora and fauna.
OIL had claimed that it would drill the seven wells inside the national park from about 1.5 km distance outside the boundary of the forest with the help of the extended reach drilling (ERD) advanced technology.
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had accorded environmental clearance for extension drilling and testing of hydrocarbons at seven locations inside Dibru Saikhowa National Park.