Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday ordered a high-level inquiry into the circumstances that led to a blowout at a gas well of Oil India Limited (OIL) in Tinsukia district and a subsequent fire that killed two persons.
The probe will be conducted by Additional Chief Secretary Maninder Singh and the report will be submitted within 15 days, a senior official at the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) told PTI.
“The probe will also look into the allegation of negligence on the part of some officials of the company and its private well operator. It will find out who is responsible for this tragedy,” he said.
The inquiry will try to find out how the entire tragedy unfolded and what measures should be taken so that such incidents never occur in the future, the CMO official said.
Well No. 5 at Baghjan in Tinsukia district has been spewing gas uncontrollably for the last 16 days and it caught fire on Tuesday afternoon, killing two OIL firefighters at the site.
The blaze at the well is so massive that it can be seen from a distance of more than 30 km with thick black smoke going up several metres high, endangering local biodiversity at the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park following the blowout on May 27.
The company and the Tinsukia district administration said they have evacuated around 7,000 people from nearby areas of the gas well site at Baghjan to 12 relief camps.
Already two officials of public sector unit (PSU) Oil India Limited have been suspended for alleged negligence of duty at the gas well site, while a show-cause notice has been sent to John Energy Pvt Ltd, the outsourced private operator of the well.
A PIL was filed at the Gauhati High Court on Wednesday against OIL, John Energy, the Centre and the state for the PSU major’s Baghjan gas well blowout and successive fire, which have damaged life and properties in the area.