Crude oil leak from an underground pipeline of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) at Nazira in upper Assam‘s Sivasagar district has spilled over vast swathes of farmland affecting scores of farmers in the area.
The breach occured in a crude oil pipeline at Borpathar which is located between two adjacent villages – Mesagarh and Molagaon – in Borpathar area of Nazira sub-division. Technical teams from the ONGC Nazira office has rushed to the area to locate and plug the leak.
Sources said that huge quanity of crude oil have already spilled over and it has a risk of catching fire. So far, 20 bighas of paddy fields have been affected by the crude oil spill.
Nazira sub-divisional officer (SDO) Sabyasachi Kashyap said that the leakage was first spotted by farmers on Thursday evening and was brought to the notice of the administration on Friday.
“We were informed about the oil leakage at around 10.30 am. Immediately, we contacted the ONGC office and asked them to cut-off the supply of crude oil through that pipeline. But already a huge quantity of crude oil had gushed out and spilled into the surrounding paddy fields. The pipeline passes under a vast 1,000-bigha field and out of that around 20 bighas have been affected. A thick and blackish layer of oil has formed above the paddy fields. We have been told that the pipeline was quite old. The leak may have occured due to regular wear and tear but we are not ruling out the possibility of sabotage by oil thieves,” Kashyap informed.
He further said that officials of the revenue and irrigation departments have reached the area to carry out damage assessment of the farmers. The compensation amount will have to be paid by the ONGC, he said.
Locals feared that the oil spill is likely to have an adverse impact on the flora and fauna of the area besides damaging the soil.
“The oil is gushing out in large quantity and it has spilled everywhere around the fields. The water has been contaminated. Due to rain the contaminated water has already flowed to the nearby Dimow river. This is a farming season and the famers are going to suffer the damages. We have seen the consequences of the Tinsukia Baghjan oil field fire and we do not want a repetition of it here,” a local said.
In May last year, Assam witnessed its worst oil tragedy after a massive gas blowout was reported at Oil India Limited (OIL)’s Baghjan oil field in Tinsukia district. It took 172 days for experts to extinguish the raging fire at the OIL gas well.