February 9, 2007, 03:09 PM
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|Fears of gas blowout loom over villagers |
|Brahmanbaria, Feb 9 (bdnews24.com) – Asma Akhter burnt her face in a sudden blowout when she came out of her house into the dark with a kerosene lamp in hand. Airborne gas triggered the fire. |
The housewife of Shyampur village in Brahmanbaria lives her life in danger.
Asma is not alone.
About 6,000 people live in panic as gas is gushing out of the Titas gasfield and burning in two villages of Brahmanbaria. Bangladesh Gas Fields Company Ltd operates the gasfield.
The villagers allege that gas has been coming out of the main reserve of the gasfield for several months, but authorities did not take effective steps to seal the leaks except for forming a committee.
Residents of Anandapur and Shyampur villages fear a repeat of Magurchhara gas blowout in Brahmanbaria. The two villages are close to the Titas gasfield location No. 3 on the east bank of Titas River.
Water drips nonstop from three tubewells in Shyampur village on impact of huge gas pressure. The villagers fear further gas explosions or fire breakouts from the leaks.
Oli Miah of Shyampur village says many have stopped using earthen stoves for fear of fire from concentrated gas.
Gas has been gushing out with continuous bubbling sounds from several thousand cracks on 1,ooo acres of land. Seventy-year-old Liaqat Miah, a farmer, says continuous gas bubbles have opened small ruts in rice paddies and are part of the reason for the loss of fertility in fields.
Managing director of Bangladesh Gas Fields Company Ltd Shahidul Abedin says a six-member committee has been formed to investigate the matter and find ways out.
He says the next action will be taken after the committee submits its report by Sunday.
An official, asking not to be named, says the well No. 10 of the gasfield dug in 1988 went into production before it was properly cemented.
Geological experts warned at the time that consequences would be serious if the well went into production without proper cementing.
Villager Solaiman Miah says gas leaks were detected five years ago. "If action had been taken the situation would not have come to such a pass," he says.
The district administration of Brahmanbaria has started looking into the matter after complaints from the villagers.
Brahmanbaria deputy commissioner Syed Ahmed Safa says his office has contacted the villagers to know about the gravity of the situation.
He says the responsibility is of BGFCL and the district administration will provide all cooperation.