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GUWAHATI | SEPT 30, 2020:
The Gauhati High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre, Assam Government, Oil India and several agencies in a case related to allowing the PSU to drill seven wells inside Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, which is next to the Baghjan well tragedy site.
Hearing the PIL filed jointly by advocate Mrinmoy Khataniar, and mountaineer Amar Jyoti Deka, the High Court bench comprising Chief Justice (Acting) N. Kotiswar Singh and Justice Manish Choudhury directed the 14 respondents to file their affidavits within two weeks and fixed October 20 as the next date.
The bench also considered another PIL filed by advocate Gautam Uzir as they were both filed on the same issue.
"On the earlier date, the Court had asked the opposing parties to reply to the PIL. However, no one replied except Oil India. So, the Court today issued notices to all the respondents and gave two weeks' time," the petitioners' advocate Rakhee Sirauthia Chowdhury said.
She said although OIL has replied to the Court's earlier direction; the Court issued them a notice on an additional affidavit filed by the petitioners.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) had accorded environmental clearance to Oil India Ltd (OIL) for drilling and testing of hydrocarbons at seven locations under Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, northwest of Baghjan in Tinsukia district.
The PIL was filed against the Centre's approval to OIL for drilling inside the forest, which is rich in biodiversity, by amending existing norms like public hearing under the draft Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2020.