GUWAHATI: Panic prevailed among residents of Dibrugarh in Upper Assam after a massive fire broke out on Burhi Dihing River following a blast when crude oil leaked from a pipeline. The area was covered in a hellish red hue with huge plumes of smoke emanating.
Oil India authorities announced that oil leakage, which led to the blast, was due to “rare instrumentation error”in the central tank pump, where crude oil from all Oil India fields in upper Assam region is collected. Oil India has said a team of experts is at the location to douse the fire, which is now under control.
Locals suspect miscreants may have set the leaked crude oil afire after it floated onto the river. According to some reports, villagers had noticed the fire on the river three days ago and had informed the local administration. But the authorities did nothing to douse the flames.
Officials of Oil India Limited (OIL) headquartered at Duliajan, however, said, “Our team specialising in crude oil recovery and damage restoration after any spillage controlled the situation the very night one of our central tank pumps suffered instrument failure. Almost 99 per cent of the spillage was on land but the rest fell in a drain that is linked to Burhi Dihing.”
An OIL official maintained that the loss due to burning of crude was minimal.
Dibrugarh deputy commissioner Pallav Gopal Jha told reporters that a committee of experts is monitoring the situation and trying to minimise the environmental damage.
Environmentalists say Oil India authorities and other agencies should learn a lesson from the accident. “Spillage of crude or processed oil into river bodies threatens aquatic life,” they pointed out....