Rishu Kalantri is a freelance journalist from Assam and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Baghjan Dighal Tarang ME school, one of the main relief camp is overflowing with more than 2000 villagers from over 534 families housed in this relief camp. Social distancing, which is necessary amid COVID-19, is unimaginable for the camp dwellers.
The inhabitants of the relief camp are provided with food and other basic facilities, but the villagers are tired of living here and are eager to go home. Every other villager at the government relief camp, which was once a school, has a similar story to share. Monalisa Baruah, with a three-year-old son, clung to her arms, complained of bathrooms and toilets at relief camps.
Baghjan Gaon Milanjyoti Yuva Sangha advisor Hemanto Moran said amid the COVID-19 pandemic when social distancing has to be followed, the camps are tightly packed. "OIL authorities and district administration should have ensured the camps not tightly packed. If need more camps should have been opened to ensure the possibility of social distancing."
Mousami Orang, a class four student in the same school where she is camping said, "As such, there is no problem in the relief camp. However, there is a defining sound 24x7 and it creates a problem while going to bed. We had to leave everything behind in our homes when we fled after a huge sound on May 27," she lamented.
"The condition is better than before with additional temporary make-shift bathrooms and toilets made with bamboos and covered with black colour plastic sheets. But these arrangements cannot buy us the comfort of a home," another woman inmate said.
On June 9, when the gas well caught fire it spread to an area of over 600 metres and gutted whatever came in its way - houses, trees and plantations.
Diplov Chutia, a local resident has been voicing environmental and wildlife issues said, "The incident has only highlighted the danger such projects pose to the rich bio-diversity and needs to be shut down. We cannot compromise with the environment and ecology for the sake of the economy."
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