16th anniversary of Magurchhara blowout today
Today is the 16th anniversary of Magurchhara gas-well explosion.
On the night of June 14 in 1997, a massive blowout torn apart the Magurchhaqra gas field in Kamalganj upazila of Moulvibazar while US energy company Occidental was drilling a well there.
The inferno that the blowout triggered wiped out property worth crores of taka. The US energy company, which was widely blamed for the devastation, is yet to pay compensation for the damage.
The flora and fauna of the Lawachhara Reserve Forest adjoining the exploded well took the brunt of the explosion. The massive blaze destroyed a teak grove raised between 1944 and 1950, bamboo shacks created between 1993 and 1995, and a strip of plantation established in 1994.
About 96 acres of Lawachhara forest was completely burnt. Fifty percent of the forest resources on 111.15 acres of land and 30 percent resources on 106.21 acres of land were also damaged.
According to the committee reports, the damage to forest resources amounted to Tk 9,858 crore while 29 tea gardens of the area suffered a loss of about Tk 46.07 crore.
The railway suffered a loss of Tk 21 crore, Jalalabad Gas Company Tk 43 lakh, the electricity department about Tk 4.35 crore. Indigenous Khasia people lost betel leaf plantations worth Tk 18 lakh.