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Assam CM orders high-level probe into massive fire at oil well in Tinsukia district

Two firefighters lost their lives while dousing the massive fire which broke out on Tuesday afternoon.

SNS | New Delhi |

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday ordered a high-level inquiry into the circumstances that led to the massive fire at gas well of Oil India Limited (OIL) in Tinsukia district and a subsequent fire that killed two firefighters.

The investigation will be conducted by Additional Chief Secretary Maninder Singh and the report will be submitted within 15 days, reports PTI.

“The probe will also look into the allegation of negligence on the part of some officials of the company and its private well operator. It will find out who is responsible for this tragedy,” he said.

Well number 5 at Baghjan in Tinsukia district had been spewing gas uncontrollably for the last 16 days and it caught fire on Tuesday afternoon, killing two OIL firefighters at the site.

Immediately after the news of the fire broke out, three experts from a Singapore-based emergency management firm and firefighters were rushed to the spot.

The blaze at the well was so massive that it could be seen from a distance of more than 30 km with thick black smoke going up several metres high, endangering local biodiversity at the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park following the blowout on May 27.

The state government, had sought the Indian Air Force’s help to douse the blaze on Tuesday. Chief Minister Sonowal talked to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh seeking help from the IAF.

Besides NDRF, para-military, state security forces, district administration, ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation), OIL and other stakeholders are jointly working to deal with the emergent situation.

The company and the Tinsukia district administration said they have evacuated around 7,000 people from nearby areas of the gas well site at Baghjan to 12 relief camps.

Two officials of public sector unit (PSU) Oil India Limited have been suspended for alleged negligence of duty at the gas well site, while a show-cause notice has been sent to John Energy Pvt Ltd, the outsourced private operator of the well.