Apart from causing an enormous loss to the country's gas reserve, the second blowout at Tengratila gas field on June 24 has had huge adverse impacts on the local community. The blowout affects its health, economy, education and environment, reports UNB.
The blaze at the gas field, triggered by the blowout in the early hours of the day, leapt hundreds of feet into the air throwing up mud, sands and pebbles, and it continued for over a month, causing a considerable damage to the environment and human health.
While talking to journalists, who visited the affected area Friday, locals people described the terrible events they saw on June 24 and talked about the impacts the blowout had on their lives.
Although Niko has taken steps to minimise their sufferings, they have claimed that enough is not being done for them. They demanded that they be compensated comprehensively for the damage caused by the blowout.
The second blowout, which they regard as severer than the first one in January, has done enormous damages to croplands and trees. They also apprehend a long-term environmental damage. One villager has claimed that within one square kilometre radius about 500 craters have been created with depth of 40 to 100 feet.
According to them, the education of their kids has severely been disrupted because of the two blowouts in quick succession. Two schools -- one primary and another secondary -- are situated very close to the gas-well site and the second blowout caused a significant damage to both the schools.
Later, the two schools had to be temporarily shifted elsewhere considered unsuitable for the children.
Scarcity of drinking water is one of the major problems now faced by the inhabitants. "We never had such a high level of arsenic in our groundwater," said Rafique, a local trader, adding that Niko pledged to install 10 tubewells in the affected area, but so far only one had been sunk.
In the mean time, the local people have been on a movement since they came to know that Niko is about to leave Tengratila. On Friday, they were seen protesting at the entrance of the gas field against the removal of drilling equipment. They were in no mood to accept the packing up of Niko from the gas field until it (Niko) compensated for all the damages caused by the blowouts. They also voiced their strong objection to abandoning of the gas field.
The aggrieved people also obstructed the trucks from leaving the Tengratila gas-well site.
Being obstructed few times, the first truck loaded with disintegrated drilling equipment left Friday afternoon. The move was prompted by the government's refusal to allow Niko to produce gas following the second blowout.
However, some of the inhabitants are in favour of Niko's presence at Tengratila because they believe the local economy is being benefited. Many local people work at the gas field while some businessmen supply various materials to the gas field.