Supreme Court Forms New Panel On Baghjan Blowout, Chastises NGT

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Posted in Assam, Featured

– NET Web Desk

The heat of the Baghjan oil well fire in Assam seems to be lingering even after being doused in the November of 2020 as the Supreme Court of India formed a new expert committee to ‘assess the damage’ and the ‘cost of reparation’, according to a report published in The Hindu.

The expert committee will be headed by former Gauhati High Court Judge, Justice B.P. Katakey and will be replacing the existing ten-member one formed by NGT.  The Baghjan Blowout had caused widespread damage to the Dibru Saikhowa National Park and the Maguri Motapung Wetlands in particular.

The earlier ten-member committee formed by NGT was headed by the Chief Secretary of Assam and had the Managing Director of Oil India Limited as one of its members, a fact that was severely criticized by the Supreme Court of India while passing the order on replacing it on the 2nd of September 2021.

“The presence of OIL India Limited MD in the 10 member committee constituted to assess the damage to and restoration to the National Park and the wetland, would lead to a serious conflict of interest and would not contribute to the fairness of the process,” quoted Livelaw while reporting on the Supreme Court order.

The Supreme Court also chastised the NGT for ‘pushing the matter’ of Baghjan ‘off its hands’ rather than working with ‘alacrity and concern for the environment. It also snubbed the counsel representing OIL in the case when he wanted to provide advice on the comoposition of the new committee. “Why would we take your suggestions? You are the one who is responsible…” The bench said to OIL’s counsel Aman Lekhi.



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