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NGT-appointed panel for legal action against OIL

By SIVASISH THAKUR

GUWAHATI, Nov 4 - The NGT-appointed Justice BP Katakey Committee, while reiterating its conclusions drawn in its preliminary report, has recommended further legal action against Oil India Limited (OIL) in connection with the Baghjan gas blowout incident.

It also held OIL responsible for continuous contempt of Supreme Court directives. It further said that highly polluting Red-category project near the Dibru Saikhowa National Park was violating eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) norms.

�...direction may be issued to the PCB, Assam to take appropriate legal action against OIL and its officials for violation of the mandatory requirements of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and Page Authorization under the Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989 and the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016,� it said in its latest report submitted to the NGT on Tuesday.

Holding that OIL has been unable to carry out the biodiversity impact assessment study either through the Assam State Biodiversity Board as was mandated by the Supreme Court, the committee said that such actions place OIL in �continuing contempt of the directions passed by the Hon�ble Supreme Court of India, specifically its Order dated 07.09.2017 granting conditional approval to OIL to undertake the present extraction of hydrocarbons from the proposed wells including the Well Baghjan-5.�

Summarizing a number of legal violations by OIL, the committee stated that OIL stood in contravention of the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 1994 under which it was mandatory to obtain environmental clearance for any onshore drilling projects before commencement of activities on 20.11.2006.

�Based on the reports received by multiple agencies, including PCB, Assam, it is evident that the ambient noise levels in and around Well Baghjan No. 5 are well above the permissible standards. It is therefore recommended that OIL be directed to take immediate and all other urgent measures to bring down the noise level within the limit prescribed under Rule 3(1) and Rule 4(1) of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000,� it added.

Additionally, the committee directed PCB, Assam to initiate appropriate legal action against the competent authorities of OIL under the provision of Rule 8 of the aforementioned Rules.

It also called for creation of a health fund to be generated by contributions made available by OIL � to be administered by the DC, Tinsukia, to defray the cost of treatment, including any specialized treatment of any person(s) suffering from any ailment/condition/illness due to the heightened noise levels.

Observing that continuing extraction of hydrocarbons around the Dibru Saikhowa National Park would qualify it as a Red category project, the committee said that such highly polluting industries violate the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) norms.

�...would place it in clear violation of the Notification No. WG/G-1521/18-19/27 dated 04.05.2019,� it said and added that neither OIL nor PCBA had clarified their position before the committee regarding the inconsistency with the mandate given by the Central Pollution Control Board for industries and the extent of such non-compliance.

Observing that the collection of primary data was still being on, the committee was unable to submit its final report before November 3 as directed by the NGT, �more so when the source of pollution is yet to be extinguished.�

It requested the NGT to direct OIL to undertake all urgent and necessary efforts to silence the well immediately.

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NGT-appointed panel for legal action against OIL

GUWAHATI, Nov 4 - The NGT-appointed Justice BP Katakey Committee, while reiterating its conclusions drawn in its preliminary report, has recommended further legal action against Oil India Limited (OIL) in connection with the Baghjan gas blowout incident.

It also held OIL responsible for continuous contempt of Supreme Court directives. It further said that highly polluting Red-category project near the Dibru Saikhowa National Park was violating eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) norms.

�...direction may be issued to the PCB, Assam to take appropriate legal action against OIL and its officials for violation of the mandatory requirements of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and Page Authorization under the Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989 and the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016,� it said in its latest report submitted to the NGT on Tuesday.

Holding that OIL has been unable to carry out the biodiversity impact assessment study either through the Assam State Biodiversity Board as was mandated by the Supreme Court, the committee said that such actions place OIL in �continuing contempt of the directions passed by the Hon�ble Supreme Court of India, specifically its Order dated 07.09.2017 granting conditional approval to OIL to undertake the present extraction of hydrocarbons from the proposed wells including the Well Baghjan-5.�

Summarizing a number of legal violations by OIL, the committee stated that OIL stood in contravention of the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 1994 under which it was mandatory to obtain environmental clearance for any onshore drilling projects before commencement of activities on 20.11.2006.

�Based on the reports received by multiple agencies, including PCB, Assam, it is evident that the ambient noise levels in and around Well Baghjan No. 5 are well above the permissible standards. It is therefore recommended that OIL be directed to take immediate and all other urgent measures to bring down the noise level within the limit prescribed under Rule 3(1) and Rule 4(1) of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000,� it added.

Additionally, the committee directed PCB, Assam to initiate appropriate legal action against the competent authorities of OIL under the provision of Rule 8 of the aforementioned Rules.

It also called for creation of a health fund to be generated by contributions made available by OIL � to be administered by the DC, Tinsukia, to defray the cost of treatment, including any specialized treatment of any person(s) suffering from any ailment/condition/illness due to the heightened noise levels.

Observing that continuing extraction of hydrocarbons around the Dibru Saikhowa National Park would qualify it as a Red category project, the committee said that such highly polluting industries violate the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) norms.

�...would place it in clear violation of the Notification No. WG/G-1521/18-19/27 dated 04.05.2019,� it said and added that neither OIL nor PCBA had clarified their position before the committee regarding the inconsistency with the mandate given by the Central Pollution Control Board for industries and the extent of such non-compliance.

Observing that the collection of primary data was still being on, the committee was unable to submit its final report before November 3 as directed by the NGT, �more so when the source of pollution is yet to be extinguished.�

It requested the NGT to direct OIL to undertake all urgent and necessary efforts to silence the well immediately.

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