2 Oil India officials suspended for Assam gas well blowout

Two firefighters dead, several houses damaged as fire rages

Guwahati, June 10

Two staffers of Oil India Ltd (OIL) have been suspended for alleged negligence of duty in the gas well blowout at Baghjan in Assam’s Tinsukia district, a company official said on Wednesday.

Gas has been spewing uncontrollably from the Baghjan well since the blowout on May 27.

“The company is carrying out an internal inquiry and we have placed two officials responsible for the well under suspension. Once the probe is over, we will take a final decision on their role,” the official said.

Earlier, Oil India Ltd (OIL) Chairman and MD Sushil Chandra Mishra said a five-member inquiry committee was formed and actions would be initiated on employees of the company if there was any prima facie evidence of human error.

It has also issued a show-cause notice to John Energy Pvt Ltd, the outsourced private operator of the gas well, Mishra said.

The state-run company on Wednesday said two of its firefighters died while controlling the blaze at the Baghjan well. Many houses in the adjoining areas were also damaged and several thousand people have shifted to safer places and the relief camps set up by OIL.

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 biodiversities in the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.

A company employee, who was at the site when the blowout took place, had said they were trying to replace a damaged spool of the well when the tragedy struck. — PTI

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