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NGT seeks explanation on drilling for oil in Assam national park

23rd July, 2020 Environment

NGT Finding:

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Environment Ministry, Oil India Limited (OIL) and two other entities (Assam State Pollution Control Board and the Assam State Biodiversity Board) to explain how the proposed drilling of seven oil wells in Dibru-Saikhowa National Park was permitted.
  • OIL did not carry out a biodiversity assessment study for the seven-well exploratory drilling project
  • Did not conduct a public hearing as mandated by the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification of 2006.
  • The report “only considered the blowout risk applicable to the U.S. and did not give data from India in general”.

BaghJan Accident:

  • OIL, battling to cap the natural gas well at Baghjan that had burst into flames a fortnight after undergoing a blowout on May 27.

OIL Comment:

  • Obtained permission for the seven wells in 2016 on the basis of the sophisticated ERD (extended reach drilling) technology.
  • It will enable OIL to explore hydrocarbon deposits horizontally, from beyond the national park.
  • The ERD was extensively used to intersect hydrocarbon targets far from the surface or areas of the reservoir.
  • This technology enabled drilling of wells up to a depth of approximately 4 km from an existing well plinth without entering the protected area.

About NGT:

  • National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 is an Act of the Parliament of India, which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues.


  • The Principal Bench of the NGT is in New Delhi.
  • It has regional benches in Pune (West), Bhopal (Central), Chennai (South) and Kolkata (East).
  • Each Bench has a specified geographical jurisdiction in a region.
  • The Chairperson of the NGT is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court, head quartered in New Delhi. Other Judicial members are retired Judges of High Courts.
  • Each bench of the NGT will comprise at least one Judicial Member and one Expert Member.
  • The Tribunal has powers to review its own decisions. If this fails, the decision can be challenged before the Supreme Court within ninety days.
  • It does not take complaints pertaining to Wildlife Protection Act.


  • Effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection
  • Conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment
  • Giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
  • The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.

Dibru Saikhowa National Park:

  • It was designated a Biosphere Reserve in July 1997 with an area of 765 km2 (295 sq mi), including a core area of 340 km2 (130 sq mi) and a buffer zone of 425 km2 (164 sq mi).
  • The park is bounded by the Brahmaputra and Lohit Rivers in the north and Dibru River in the south.
  • It mainly consists of moist mixed semi-evergreen forests, moist mixed deciduous forests, canebrakes and grasslands.
  • It is the largest salix swamp forest in north-eastern India, with a tropical monsoon climate with a hot and wet summer and cool and usually dry winter.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ngt-seeks-explanation-on-drilling-for-oil-in-assam-national-park/article32159368.ece