02 October, 2020

Dead Xihu’s Tears: Oil India’s Gas Well Blowout In Assam Puts People, Wildlife In Danger

Inability of Oil India Ltd to plug a gas leak after a blowout in a well in eastern Assam prompted authorities to relocate nearly 2,500 residents away from the site recently.

The blown-out well at Baghjan in Assam’s Tinsukia district
Photograph by Partha Sarathi Das
Dead Xihu’s Tears: Oil India’s Gas Well Blowout In Assam Puts People, Wildlife In Danger
outlookindia.com
2020-06-07T15:06:19+05:30

The air has a sulfuric stench to it, smells like a stew of rotten eggs and petrol. The air is also thick with choicest cuss words—an unapologetic assault on Oil India Ltd for its inability to plug a gas leak after a blowout in a well on May 27 in eastern Assam. The accident prompted authorities to relocate close to 2,500 residents away from the site, huddle them into temporary shelters set up in schools. Many of them reported laboured breathing and headache as the crude gas—shooting almost ten storeys up like a giant hissing geyser—blanketed the area. The families in those shelters are worried about their homes, livestock, and children amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the state. The men are finding refuge in expletives and card games when they are not foraging for firewood for the kitchen with a herky-jerky rain beating on the tin roof.

The downpour couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the technicians of Oil India working tirelessly to contain the damage and prevent the highly inflammatory gas from catching fire. A fire would be the...

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