‘Compensate Magurchhara gas well blast victims’
Speakers at Magurchhara Day programme in Kamalganj upazila have placed a seven-point demand including compensation to victims of Magurchhara gas well explosion in 1997.
The other demands include steps to save the reserve forest and its wildlife.
The demands were made at a human chain, jointly organised by the Kamalganj Development Parishad and Kamalganj Pahar Rakkha Unnayan Society, in Kamalganj Upazila Chattar area on Sunday.
Journalists MA Wahid Rulu, Pronit Ranjon Debnath and Shaheen Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman, among others, were present at the programme with Monayem Khan, president of Kamalganj Pahar Rakkha Unnayan Society, in the chair.
They later submitted a memorandum to the prime minister through the upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) in this regard.
Over two decades into Magurchhara gas field explosion, compensation for huge damage to Lawacherra forest worth crores of taka is yet to be realized, said the speakers.
On the night of June 14 in 1997, a massive explosion took place at Magurchhara gas field in Kamalganj of Moulvibazar while US energy company Occidental was drilling a well there, they said.
Abdul Wadud, Sylhet divisional forest officer of Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Division, forest department had filed a case claiming damages of Tk 2,000 crore. But 23 years into the gas field explosion, no compensation has been received from Occidental or Chevron till date.
Lawacherra Reserve Forest adjacent to the exploded gas well was massively damaged. A segun timber garden, established in the years between 1944 and 1950, a bamboo garden, established in the years 1993 to 1995, and a strip of plantation, which was established in 1994, were also extensively damaged by the fire.
According to forest department, about 96 acres of Lawacherra forest were completely burnt. Fifty percent of forest resources on 111.15 acres of land and 30 percent resources on 106.21 acres of land of the reserve forest were also damaged.
The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources Power and Ports along with several other organisations will submit a memorandum to the prime minister through Srimangal UNO to press home their 10-point demands, including realisation of compensation from the US energy company Occidental.
American company Chevron operates the gas field at present, said the speakers.