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    How a 100-day long Baghjan oil well blowout is crumpling livelihoods

    PTI|
    Burnt betel-nut trees
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    Burnt betel-nut trees

    For more than 100 days, the fire raged, a tall blaze of angry orange that killed the fish in ponds and streams, destroyed homes and turned to ash the green farmlands around the Baghjan oil field in Assam's Tinsukia district.

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    ​Trauma
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    ​Trauma

    The fire at an Oil India Ltd well that started with oil and natural gas gushing out uncontrollably on May 27 and went up in flames on June 9 was controlled on Sunday. But the trauma will take much longer to subside, said residents of the area around the oil field that has 17 oil wells and five gas wells.

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    ​Destruction
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    ​Destruction

    The sight of the flames that coloured the skies saffron and the sound of the blaze have led to people in Baghjan village complaining of disorientation, sleepless nights and confusion.

    Betel nut trees were ruined, several homes have been completely burnt and about 500 hectares of land destroyed.

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    ​Danger to humans and animals
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    ​Danger to humans and animals

    In a couple of days, the fish in ponds and streams were dead and ashen white. Lumps of crude oil have settled in the streams flowing into the wetland, killing the fish and posing a danger to humans and animals who drink water from it.

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    Protest
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    Protest

    The area has also been experiencing frequent tremors since the blowout in June. When the massive fire burnt a huge amount of oxygen in the periphery, an air vacuum was created. This resulted in sudden air movement and created minor local tremors.

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    Flames
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    Flames

    A motorist rides on a road leading towards the Oil India Limited (OIL)'s gas well blowout site, at Baghjan in Tinsukia district.

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