Baghjan oil well, which has been spewing gas uncontrollably for the last two weeks in Assam's Tinsukia district engulfed in massive flames on Tuesday. The blaze at the Oil India Ltd's well is so massive that it can be seen from a distance of more than 30 kilometres with thick black smoke going up several metres high, endangering the local biodiversities which were already ravaged following the major blowout that happened on May 27. Efforts to douse the flames are on, during which a firefighter of the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) suffered minor injuries. Meanwhile, the Oil India has said it could take as long as four weeks to be put out.
A video of the flames that continue to erupt from the gas well of Assam's Oil India Ltd at Baghjan in Tinsukia district was shared on Twitter.
#WATCH Fire flames continue to erupt from the gas well of Oil India Ltd at Baghjan in Tinsukia district, Assam. A team of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and fire engines are present at the spot. pic.twitter.com/PgtAC06RTP— ANI (@ANI) June 10, 2020
According to eyewitnesses, a massive explosion occurred at the oil well, next to the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and soon black smoke engulfed the area.
There were protests in the area as the fire broke out, threatening the lives and livelihood of the people already facing the impact of the blowout for the last two weeks amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Following the gas leak, thousands of people were moved out of the area and provided shelter at different camps where following coronavirus guidelines, such as maintaining social distancing, remain difficult.
In a statement, Oil India said in view of the protests by people around the site, the chief Secretary and Tinsukia district administration was requested for maintaining law and order so that experts were allowed to enter the site and start the well control operations.
The staff of Oil India and ONGC are being shifted from the nearby areas and once the situation is normal, experts from Singaporean firm Alert Disaster Control and the state-owned companies will move to the site, it said.
The three experts from the Singaporean firm who started working at the site on Monday to stop the gas leak are confident that the situation can be controlled and the well can be capped safely, the statement said.
The situation demands the arrangement of large quantities of water, installation of high discharge pumps and removal of debris, it added.
All the operations as per the Alert Disaster Control team will take about four weeks and efforts will be made to reduce this timeframe as much as possible, it said.