Other States

Exploration beneath no threat to Assam national park: OIL

‘It will be 3.5 km underground without disturbing surface life’

Exploration major Oil India Limited (OIL) has negated fears that its drilling project under Assam’s Dibru-Saikhowa National Park would spell doom for its flora and fauna, including the only population of feral horses in India.

OIL had on May 19 announced that it has received environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) for extension drilling and testing of hydrocarbons at seven locations under the 765 sq km park straddling eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts.

This raised eyebrows with green activists and local organisations questioning the sanction to operate in an ecologically sensitive park declared a biosphere reserve in 1997. Dibru-Saikhowa is an island bounded by the Brahmaputra, Lohit and the Dibru rivers.

‘No impact’

“The advertisement appears to have led to concern assuming that OIL will be operating inside the national park. We reassure everyone that our operations will have no impact on the park’s area as they will be conducted 3.5 km beneath the surface,” spokesperson Tridip Hazarika said from OIL’s headquarters in eastern Assam’s Duliajan.

“OIL had obtained permission in 2016 on the basis of the sophisticated ERD (extended reach drilling) technology that will enable us to explore hydrocarbon deposits horizontally,” he said.

Drilling will take place at an average of more than 1.5 km outside the demarcated area of the national park where OIL already is carrying out hydrocarbon exploration since the last 15 years, Mr. Hazarika said.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 9:11:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/exploration-beneath-no-threat-to-assam-national-park-oil/article31636508.ece

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