Wildlife be Damned (DTE 16 - 30 June 2020)

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Wildlife be Damned

  • Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • A gas well on fire poses an existential threat to Assam՚s Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
  • Smoke mushroom hangs over Assam՚s Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
  • Billowing methane and crude oil uncontrollably for the past two weeks caught fire on June 9 in the afternoon.
  • Fire broke out while clearing operations were on.
  • Severe and a long term damage to the ecology of:
    • The world՚s only riverine island.
    • Wildlife reserve and the Brahmaputra, Lohit and Dibru rivers that surround it.
  • Oil India Limited (OIL) , the public sector company operates the well located in Baghjan village of Tinsukia district.
  • 23 wells around Baghjan are undertaken by the company for oil and gas extraction purposes.
  • The blowout, or an uncontrollable release of natural gas had occurred on May 27 during drilling operations to access an untapped reservoir at the well named Baghjan 5.
  • The district administration set up three relief camps where about 3,000 people evacuated from four villages have been sheltered.
A Question of Priority

Source: Eco-sensitive zone notification, published in the Gazette of India (Extraordinary) in January 2020

Dibru-Saikhowa National Park

  • Lies at the intersection of two of the world՚s 34 biodiversity hotspots.
  • Has recorded over 500 species of birds and 104 species of fish including the endangered Gangetic river dolphins.
  • Home to home to tigers, elephants, wild buffaloes, leopards, hoolock gibbons, capped langurs, slow loris.
  • There are 40 mammal species, 105 butterfly species and 680 types of plants.
  • Only habitat of feral horses:
    • The Indo-Myanmar hotspot
    • The Eastern Himalaya hotspot
  • Dibru-Saikhowa wetland is attached to some of the best birding habitats of the world.
  • The wetland attached to the Dibru river attracts migratory species such as:
    • Ruddy shelduck
    • Bar-headed goose
    • Falcated duck
    • Ferruginous duck
    • Northern pintail
    • The Eurasian region.
  • Also harbours critically endangered bird species such as the:
    • Bengal florican
    • White winged duck
    • Greater adjutant stork
    • White-rumped vulture
    • Slender-billed vulture
    • Very rare and endemic black-breasted parrot bill.

Loophole

  • As per the conditions stated in environmental clearance (EC) accorded in 2011 to OIL՚s six drilling wells in Mechaki area (30 km form Baghjan) in Dibrugarh.
  • BOPS or Blow out Preventers should be installed all the time during the drilling operations.

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