Assam oil well blowout: NGT defers deposit of Rs 250 million fine by OIL
The National Green Tribunal has deferred its direction for deposition of Rs 250 million interim fine by the Oil India Ltd, following the gas well leakage and fire in Assam, till the actual amount and its disbursement plans are worked out.
The incident happened in Baghjan in Assam's Tinsukia district. Enormous volume of inflammable natural gas which was leaking from the Baghjan-5 oil well of the company since May 27 caught fire on June 9, claiming lives of two fire-fighters.
On June 25, the tribunal had imposed a heavy fine of Rs 250 million on OIL for causing damage to the environment, human and wildlife and over its failure to stop the oil well fire. An eight-member committee was also constituted to look into the matter.
On July 2, the tribunal deferred the direction after senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for OIL, assured that the company has itself taken several measures for rehabilitation of the displaced families and deposited a sum of Rs 48.3 million with the District Magistrate as an interim relief.
He submitted that the committee is 'unnecessary' and so is the direction to deposit the amount of Rs 250 million as the OIL is committed to compensate the victims and restitute the environment. It will pay whatever amount required on its liability being ascertained, he said
The bench of NGT Chairman Adarsh Kumar Goel observed: "In view of this assurance, we defer our direction for deposit of Rs 250 million till the actual amount and its disbursement plan are worked out in the light of the report of the committee after considering viewpoint of victims as well as the OIL."
However, adequacy of steps taken by the OIL will have to be looked into by the committee and then by this tribunal following due process of law, it added.
The tribunal said that the OIL is stated to have set apart more than Rs 250 million and Rohtagi also categorically assured that OIL being a public sector undertaking, there will be no difficulty in promptly making available whatever amount is required for discharge of its liability.
(Source: Times Now 04-07-2020)