ONGC asked to stop drilling

People in Tripura complain to environment ministry

By Biswendu Bhattacharjee
Published: Sunday 31 October 2010

imageTHE Tripura State Pollution Control Board has ordered public sector company, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), to suspend exploratory drilling at Aralia village near Agartala in mid- September. The move follows site inspection by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that found ONGC flouting environmental norms.

The company is supposed to submit a detailed project report along with details of effluent treatment and disposal of hazardous waste and the plan for restoring abandoned sites. Additional director of CPCB’s regional office in Shillong, H K Karfoma, said the company has not been complying with rules. As a result, waterbodies and paddy fields have been contaminated. Residents of Aralia have sent a written complaint to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests seeking compensation for losses they incurred.

According to the state pollution control board (SPCB) records, ONGC carried out drilling at 28 sites in the past four years but did not restore any site. Head of ONGC’s Tripura operations, V K Jain, refuted the charges and said waste water is fully treated and disposed of safely and compliance reports sent to the authorities. SPCB chairperson Mihir Deb declined to comment on how ONGC was continuing operations in the state. He granted drilling permission for four new sites in April and June this year.

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