No OIL survey in Brahmaputra

GUWAHATI, Jan 10 – Forest and Tourism Minister Rockybul Hussain today said that Oil India Ltd (OIL) had not conducted any drilling or survey so far in and around the Brahmaputra river, and therefore, there was no question of any damage caused to the river ecology or the environment.

Replying to a question from AGP legislator Girindra Baruah at the Assembly, Hussain said that OIL wanted to explore the prospects of oil and natural gas on the Brahmaputra and adjoining areas but drilling was not on its agenda.

He said that no new NoC was given to OIL by the Pollution Control Board Assam (PCBA) after it had sought for a second NoC as it could not start its work on time after getting the first NoC on February 2, 2000. When it sought the new NoC, the PCBA conducted a public hearing in Dibrugarh on October 30, 2006 after obtaining a report from OIL on the possible adverse effects from the proposed exploration.

Besides, the Minister said, the Gauhati High Court had asked OIL to abide by the recommendations of the Multi-Disciplinary Advisory Group formed under the advice of the Wildlife Institute of India. A monitoring committee was also formed by the high court to ensure that the survey did not cause any environmental problem.