A massive fire was reported in a natural-gas producing well in Baghjan, Tinsukia, the uppermost district of Assam. Oil India’s well had been facing a gas leakage for the last 14 days. During this period the local people have been facing respiratory problems, affecting even children as well as poultry.
Gungun, one of my little friends from Chabua, told me that some parents have already sent their children to their relatives’ homes.
I can remember the map of upper Assam without Googling it. It’s beautifully connected with three rivers. The first two rivers, namely the Dibru and the Lohit, flow along together and finally meet the third one, the Brahmaputra. This entire river basin has created a unique ecosystem that has vast forest land, swamps and marshy, and sandy islands.
— ANI (@ANI) June 10, 2020
The fishermen who live around this place talk about the Magur, a kind of catfish, and that’s how it became famous as Maguri beel. Anyone from Assam can easily point towards the Dibru Saikhowa National Park which is also located right there.
In the last couple of months, the narrative of people in Assam (including #SaveDehingPatkai) showed that that the ‘environment’ is becoming a part of the ‘governance,’ from the local level to the state.
The fire at Baghjan consequently raised many questions on environmental governance in the state and its agenda on resource extraction. It consequently raised the question of why not only people, but an entire ecosystem, has been targeted and is vulnerable? Are the disasters ‘managed? Indeed, asking why disasters happen is a political question, but, understanding how they occur is a social and historical one. Today, like Adrienne Rich I am also scared to repeat that “a place on the map is also a place in history.”