NGT Committee Slaps Rs 131 Cr Compensation For Baghjan Families

Baghjan Victims

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) appointed Committee on Baghjan has recommended compensation worth Rs 131 crores to the Baghjan victims @ Rs 25 lakh each to 173 families and Rs 20 lakh each to   439 families.

The final report of the Committee was submitted to the NGT on October 31 last.

The NGT appointed expert committee headed by retired Justice Brojendra Prasad Kataky in its final report said that the – the Deputy Commissioner, Tinsukia being one of the Members of the Committee appointed by the Hon’ble NGT and also the head of the Revenue in the District has re-surveyed the affected families and recommends that an additional 104 families be inducted into Category (i) to the earlier list containing 57 families. He has further recommended that for the disbursement of the final compensation, the affected families of Baghjan Gaon be revised into two categories and the number of affected families would be as follows : Category (1); (12+57+104 = 173 Nos. of families) Category (2): (439 Nos. of families) The Committee is inclined to accept his recommendation for payment of Rs. 25 Lacs to the identified 173 nos. of families and Rs. 20 Lacs to identified 439 nos. of families, subject to the process being over seen by the Assam State Legal Services Authority. The amount already paid to any of the aforesaid families shall be deducted from the said amount. Hence, the Hon’ble NGT may consider passing necessary order in that regard for payment of interim compensation as suggested.

The Committee reiterates the conclusions drawn in the Preliminary Report and recommends that direction may be issued to the PCB, Assam to take appropriate legal action against OIL and its officials for violation of the mandatory requirements of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and Page 42 of ii) iii)

Authorization under the Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989 and the

Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016.

OIL has been unable to carry out the Biodiversity Impact Assessment Study either through the Assam State Biodiversity Board, as was mandated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, a fact that stands corroborated by the Assam State Biodiversity Board, or by any other agency. Such actions place OIL in continuing contempt of the directions passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, specifically its Order dated 07.09.2017 granting conditional approval to OIL to undertake the present extraction of hydrocarbons from the proposed wells including the Well Baghjan-5.

The OIL stands in contravention of the provisions Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 1994 under which it is mandatory to obtain EC for any onshore drilling projects before commencement of activities on 20.11.2006.

Based on the Reports received by multiple agencies, including PCB, Assam, it is evident that the ambient noise levels in and around Well Baghjan No. 5 are well above the permissible standards.

It is therefore recommended that OIL be directed to take immediate and all other urgent measures to berg down the noise level within the limit prescribed under Rule 3(1) and Rule 4(1) of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.

Additionally, PCB, Assam may be directed to initiate appropriate legal action against the competent authorities of OIL under the provision of Rule 8 of the aforementioned Rules.

Further, in the interim, a health fund may be generated by contributions made available by OIL, to be administered by the DC, Tinsukia, to defray the cost of treatment including any specialized treatment of any person(s) suffering from any ailment/condition/ illness due to the heightened noise levels. Such fund may be replenished from time to time as may be deemed necessary and appropriate by the DC, Tinsukia.

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