Gauhati High Court issues notice regarding clearance given to 7 hydrocarbon projects of OIL

The Gauhati High court has issued notices to 14 authorities including Central Government, State Government, the pollution control board, forest department and Oil India regarding clearance given for the seven hydrocarbon projects of OIL without public hearing.

Guwahati, Oct 1-2020: Finally, some good news for the people of Baghjan and the Dibru Saikhowa bio reserve. The Gauhati High court has issued notices to 14 authorities including Central Government, State Government, the pollution control board, forest department and Oil India regarding clearance given for the seven hydrocarbon projects of OIL without public hearing.

They have been given two weeks’ time to respond regarding the impugned EIA notification of January 16 which violates the mandate of public hearing, as well as the Environmental Clearance of May 11 given to the seven hydrocarbon projects of OIL.

The next date of hearing has been fixed on October 20. The notices were issued in the presence of the Additional Solicitor General of India, State Government Counsels as well as the Counsel representing Oil India Limited.

The Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court, comprising of Chief Justice (Acting) N. Kotishwar Singh and Justice Manish Choudhury issued the notices after hearing Counsel Debajit Kr Das, Advocate, who along with Advocates R.S. Choudhury, H Betala, and C Kumar represented the petitioner Mrinmoy Khataniar.

The PIL was filed regarding permission granted to Oil India Limited (OIL) to drill oil and natural gas in Assam’s Dibru Saikhowa National Park, close to Baghjan where an OIL gas well blew out in May this year and has been burning since June.

The petitioners sought the Court’s involvement against Centre’s permission to OIL to drill inside the national park by doing away with public hearing under the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2020.

On May 11, the Union Forest, Environment and Climate Change ministry had given environmental clearance for extension drilling and testing of hydrocarbons at seven locations by OIL under Dibru-Saikhowa National Park area in Tinsukia district of Assam.

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