DOOMDOOMA, July 23 - The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Union Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change, Oil India Limited (OIL), the Assam State Pollution Control Board and the Assam State Biodiversity Board to explain how the proposed drilling of seven oil wells in the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park situated in Tinsukia district of Upper Assam was permitted.
After taking the hearing through video conferencing on a petition (04/2020/EZ) filed by two environmental activists Bimal Gogoi and Mridu Paban Phukan, the NGT issued this directive on July 20 against the environment clearance to OIL on May 11 for drilling of hydrocarbons in the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park violating of a Supreme Court order of September 2017.
The Eastern Zone Bench of the NGT comprising Justice SP Wangdi and expert member Nagin Nada also took note of the petitioners� contention that �OIL did not carry out a biodiversity assessment study for the seven-well exploratory drilling project besides not conducting a public hearing as mandated by the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification of 2006.�
The petitioners further contented that �the EIA report grossly undermines the risk of the project by stating that the threat due to �blowout� was �negligible�. The NGT noted that the report �only considered the blowout risk applicable to the US and did not give data from India in general.�
The petitions also said, �OIL suppressed the recent blowout of Baghjan Well No. 5 that has resulted in massive irreparable injury to the environment and the people of the surrounding villages.�
The NGT has given the respondents 30 days time to give the explanation from the date of issuing the order.