Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding appeal against EC granted by MoEF&CC for the proposed Onshore Oil and Gas Development Drilling and Production in Mechaki area, Tinsukia, Assam, 20/10/2023
The National Green Tribunal (NGT), October 20, 2023 dismissed the appeal filed against the environmental clearance (EC) dated March 9, 2020 granted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in favour of M/s. Oil India Ltd. (OIL) for the proposed Onshore Oil and Gas Development Drilling and Production in Mechaki area. The area would cover Mechaki, Mechaki Extension, Baghjan and Tinsukia Extension PMLs (Petroleum mining lease) in district Tinsukia, Assam by OIL.
The proposed project is stated to be in an ecologically sensitive and fragile area, where the Mechaki Block is located in close proximity to the DibruSaikhowa National Park, the Maguri-Motapung wetland complex and is part of the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve. Increasing crude oil production is essential for India and incidentally larger parts of the oil bearing area fall in the ecologically fragile zone of the country. Therefore, utmost care for environmental conservation is also necessary.
Energy security is one among 15 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) globally agreed to be achieved by 2030. India is chasing the target very fast and therefore, modern energy is also necessary for the sustainable development of the country, said Justice B Amit Sthalekar of the Eastern Bench of NGT.
The court directed that the all environmental safeguards prescribed in the environmental clearance as well as recommendation and mitigation measures described in Biodiversity Impact Assessment Study should be implemented strictly by the project proponent. The MoEF&CC as well as the Monitoring Committee constituted to monitor Master Zonal Plan for Eco-sensitive Zone around the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park should regularly monitor and take necessary action to avoid any adverse environmental impact on the landscape of the project site, said the order.