The Gauhati High Court on Monday, December 7, stayed the Centre's approval to OIL India Limited (OIL) for exploration and drilling seven hydrocarbon projects inside Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, north-west of Baghjan in Tinsukia district of Assam. The park is adjacent to the Baghjan well fire site.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had granted environment clearance to OIL for drilling and testing at seven locations in the park.
A division bench of Chief Justice issued the stay on order (Acting) N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Manish Chowdhary while hearing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by jointly by advocate Mrinmoy Khataniar and mountaineer Amar Jyoti Deklh, The Indian Express reported.
The HC has stayed the environment clearance dated on May 11 for non-compliance of the Supreme Court's order of September 7, according to which, OIL was required to conduct the Biodiversity Impact Assessment Study, Debajit Kumar, one of the petitioners' advocates told the media.
The Court issued the order after hearing the argument put forth by advocates Debajit Kumar, RS Choudhury and H Betala.
This is a major setback for the company, after it abandoned a well (Well No. 5) at Baghjan earlier this month, seven months after the well witnessed a blowout that lasted for nearly 17 days, and displacing hundreds of families from the area.