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Agaratoli locals resist OIL’s seismic survey
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, Nov 24 - The local people of Agaratoli area adjacent to the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) and Tiger Reserve under the leadership of the ‘Jeepal Krishak Shramik Sangathan’ of Bokakhat are resisting the 2D seismic survey, being carried out by the Oil India Ltd (OIL) by engaging a firm ALPHA GEO (India) Ltd, in and around Agaratoli. The area falls within the No Development Zone (NDZ) of the Numaligarh Refinery Ltd and the Eco-Sensitive Zone of the KNP, where such activities are prohibited.

Meanwhile, some environment activists have questioned the legal tenability of the above operation and asked the Deputy Commissioner of Golaghat to clarify whether the above firm has submitted copies of the environmental clearance issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and the environmental impact assessment report prepared by the OIL for the purpose.

They have also asked for clarification from the Deputy Commissioner as to when and at which venue the public hearing was held by the Pollution Control Board, Assam in Golaghat district and whether the above firm has also submitted a copy of the permission issued by the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) to it for the purpose.

It is alleged that the KNP authorities are not aware of the OIL’s move to conduct seismic survey in such close vicinity of the National Park.

Local people of Bahikhowa Pathar areas, on the bank of the Maridhansiri River in Agaratoli area of Bokakhat subdivision, have been resisting the OIL's seismic survey for the past two days. Today, in presence of the local police officials, the ALPHA GEO officials had to give an undertaking to the local people of Merjan that they would not continue with their seismic survey in the area. The firm officials were trying to start the survey near the dyke at Kuruwabahi Merjan Gaon today. The local people objected to it and they informed the local police of it.

The popular resistance to the seismic survey came following the around 35 underground blasts carried out by the firm at Bahikhowa Pathar area yesterday, as part of its seismic survey operations in the area. In their resistance to the seismic survey operations, the local people of the Agaratoli areas have been led by the Jeepal Krishak Shramik Sangathan of Bokakhat.

Jeepal Krishak Shramik Sangathan advisor Soneswar Narah told this newspaper that the local people of the area are determined to resist the seismic survey operations in Agaratoli areas or in any area adjacent to the KNP.

He reminded the State Government of the fact that it had made an announcement repeatedly on October 30 and November 5, 2006 at Dibrugarh and at Digboi respectively that no seismic survey would be allowed to be carried out in the State, at the end of public hearings on seismic survey held at the two places.

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