Assam Baghjan well fire: NGT rejects objections raised by Oil India

The National Green Tribunal has rejected the objections raised by Oil India Ltd to a preliminary report filed by a committee on the fire incident at Baghjan well number 5 in Assam.

Oil India had raised doubts over the findings of the committee headed by former high court judge B P Katakey saying it”s report was based on desk research and secondary data which needs to be verified. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel agreed with the finding of the committee which has made three categories of persons entitled to interim compensation.

The committee has made three categories — houses completely gutted by fire, whose houses have been severely damaged and those have been moderately/partially damaged or whose standing crops and horticulture have been partially damaged. The scale of interim compensation has been fixed as Rs 25 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 2.5 lakh, respectively.

According to OIL, a compensation of Rs 20 lakh has already been paid to persons covered under the first category while other two categories have not been identified. Additional compensation for the first category is also not justified, OIL said.

The tribunal rejected OIL”s submission and said, “We are unable to accept the same at this stage for prima facie view and interim compensation.”

“The recommendations of the committee on the subject of compensation for three categories of victims are accepted with the clarification that the compensation already paid will be taken into account and excluded from the interim compensation recommended by the committee,” the bench said.

Compensation to victims of categories two and three will be subject to identification by the district administration which may be completed preferably within one month, the NGT said.

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