With a hellish red hue and huge plumes of smoke, a small rivulet in upper Assam has been on fire for the last two days after a crude oil pipeline in the area exploded. The small rivulet of the Burhi Dihing River in Dibrugarh district's Naharkatia town, over 400 km from Guwahati, erupted in flames on Saturday.
Oil India authorities said that the leakage took place because of a "rare instrumentation error" in the central tank pump where the crude oil from all Oil India fields in upper Assam region is collected.
Oil India claim that the fire is under control and a team of experts are at the location to douse it. The fire may have been lit by people after the crude oil leaked into the river, they alleged.
There no reports of any injuries or casualties, officials said. But the incident has stoked fears of serious damage to the local ecology.
Speaking to NDTV over phone, Oil India's Senior Manager (Corporate Communication) Tridiv Hazarika said that the pipeline burst on the intervening night of January 31 and February 1. The fire broke out between February 1 and 2, Mr Hazarika added.
Because of the "instrumentation error", the crude oil flowing through the pipes could not enter the central pump tank and the pressure in the pipe may have punctured it in at-least two locations, Oil India sources add.
A team of experts are "on the job" to stop further contamination of the rivulets and crude oil "recovery" operations are also underway, Oil India officials said.