Pro-talks ULFA leader asks PSUs to create expert pool

Tackling Baghjan-like mishaps

GUWAHATI: Pro-talks ULFA leader Anup Chetia has appealed to central public sector undertakings such as Oil India Limited and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation to create a pool of experts to tackle Baghjan-like mishaps in future.

“It is ironical that PSUs such as OIL and ONGC have had to rope in experts from overseas to help contain the fire at Baghjan despite operating in the state for so many decades. The Centre and PSUs like OIL and ONGC needs to create a pool of experts so that mishaps of this magnitude could be prevented or tackled promptly,” Chetia told the media during a visit to Baghjan on Monday.

The pro-talks ULFA leader met people affected by the June 9 gas well fire at the relief camps set up near the site and enquired about their well being.

“Residents have been protesting against the harm caused to environment by such operations and had OIL paid heed to such protests in the past, such a mishap could have been averted,” he said.

Chetia appealed to the government and OIL to ensure that utmost care is taken  to prevent such mishaps in future.

In regard to the Pollution Control Board Assam’s abrupt change of stance after issuing a notification to OIL to stop operations in the Baghjan oilfields area, he said the pollution board should focus on preservation and protection of environment in the eco-sensitive area rather than give in to political pressure.

Meanwhile, the blaze continues to rage at the gas well site nearly a month after the mishap, with rain-triggered floods hampering ongoing operations and delaying its four-week deadline to cap the gas well.

Official sources said the well-capping operations would probably start later this week following completion of the debris removal work.

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