India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) in Assam, however, quashed reports of any explosion on a pipeline at an Oil India Limited (OIL) plant resulting in a fire on a river in the Dibrugarh district.
NDRF and SDRF officers said on Monday, the “fire on the river” was caused by miscreants. They confirmed that there was a leakage in the underwater pipeline carrying crude oil, but no explosion. Burhi Dihing is a large tributary of the river Brahmaputra. It originates in the Patkai Hills in the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh bordering China and flows through the Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts, before joining the Brahmaputra River.
“I can confirm that we have no report or information of an explosion taking place on the crude oil pipeline at Oil India Limited's Duliajan plant. Some miscreants were involved in creating the fire on the river. The visuals that are in circulation in the media are of late Saturday and early Sunday", an NDRF official who did not wish to be identified said.
“The NDRF was not involved in this operation to plug the oil pipeline leak", he further stated.
“Crude oil leaked from the cracked oil pipeline into a drain adjoining the OIL plant. The drain was connected to the river and as a result the oil entered the water body. We have spoken with local villagers and carried out a survey of the spot where the river had caught fire,” Rupam Handique, a SDRF Field Officer in the Tenvagkhat Circle of Dibrugarh district, told Sputnik.
“Some miscreants set fire at different points in catchment areas along the water body. What is being shown in the media is not of today (Monday). It was late Saturday or early Sunday. There is no fire now. Fire and emergency service personnel have controlled the situation, only residue left of burnt areas, dry leaves, etc. along the river bank. There is crude oil sediment at some locations", Handique added.
The location of the leakage was about 30 kilometres away from where the fire was spotted on the river, he said, adding that OIL engineers had acted promptly to plug the crack in the pipeline and were now delivering the crude oil through an alternate route. The process of repair was also being monitored, he stated.
Earlier various media had cited villagers as saying that the fire on the river had been raging for three days and that there had been no response from the concerned authorities.
OIL is a state-run facility engaged in the exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas. It has over 100,000 square kilometres of petroleum mining area, mostly in India’s northeast, which account for its entire oil production and majority of gas production.