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Are we waiting for Baghjan-II: A River of Fire 

Nothing could be more chilling than a river of fire!

Are We Waiting for Bagjan-2 ? Part-1 (NewsIP Published on 23,August)

Sounds scary!  Well, that’s exactly something the people in the Naharkatia town in Dibrugarh district woke up to in March 1, 2020, just two months before the country’s one of the worst oil-well blow out in Baghjan field of Oil India in May same year.

Investigations suggest that a rivulet-Burhi Dihing in the region caught fire that continued for two days much to the dismay of the locals. A mushrooming cloud of smoke on the rivulet, 400 km from Guwahati was billowing up and spread after an unusual fire danced on the water. 

The town and the adjacent villages were not too far from the in the place of incident and such a rare visual had sent a shock wave in the otherwise very quiet place. 

Like every time, Oil India stated that a leakage took place because of a “rate instrumentation error” in the central tank farm where crude oil from all the adjacent fields in upper Assam is collected. 

The Instrumentation error reportedly prevented the crude oil flowing through the pipes to enter into the central pump tank and the pressure in the pipe may have punctured it in at least two locations, according to Oil India officials.

News reports also mentioned that the fire, which was brought under control by a team of experts, may have been deliberately lit by people after the crude oil was leaked in the river, according to the Oil India authorities. 

If that was the case then the entire incident takes another dimension, particularly in the light of the militant activities in the region. Or that was a fake narrative, prepared by the oil major to pass the buck on people. 

What is most important is the fact that merely two months of this fire, Oil India shot up to inflame globally because of the worst-ever blow-out in the nearby Baghjan field. 

While the management sounded very complacent because of no casualties in the Fire in the River Burhi Dihing, the environmental impact of this incident in the region of India’s most green and bio-diversified place was completely ignored. 

The list of oil leakage and subsequent fire incidents is unending. NewIP in its earlier story following the fire in this year August 1 tried to listed out some of them. But then the investigation has been unfolding almost on a regular basis the glaring indifference on the part of Oil India management towards safety. 

Nearly six weeks have elapsed, but Oil India has still been sitting tight on the questionnaire, sent by NewsIP regarding the safety practices of the company. The same had been sent to the Chairman and Managing Director of the company also so that the replies could be sped up. But to our surprise, Oil India preferred to keep a mum.

Not only these incidents have tremendous potential to lead to another Baghjan-type blowout in these thickly populated belts but also have onerous impact on the Maharatna company’s overall ESG ( Environment, Social and Governance) image. 

Already the ESG risk rating has been placed under the “severe risk” category of 45.6 by the global ESG rating agency Sustainalytics. ( A separate detailed story on the company’s ESG rating and its impact on its future investments will be done shortly).

The set of questions, which was sent to the company about six weeks back is also attached herewith for the readers’ better understanding. The link to the first story in the series is also attached herewith. …Story To be continued….

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