Different socio-political organisations on Wednesday observed the 20th anniversary of Magurchhara Explosion Day.
The explosion at the gas field had caused severe damage to adjacent villages and natural resources including Lawachhara forest and other infrastructures.
On this day in 1997, a huge explosion took place at Magurchhara gas field in Moulvibazar while the then US-based contractor Occidental was carrying out a hydrocarbon exploration programme.
The explosion sparked a fire that sustained for 23 days causing severe damage to adjacent villages, Magurchhara forest, Magurchhara Paan Punji, a betel plantation, forests and rail tracks.
Different social and cultural organisations including National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port formed a human-chain and arranged a rally on Wednesday noon at Press Club Square in Moulvibazar town.
Magurchhara Dhurgotonay Khotipuron Aday Jatiyo Committee formed a human-chain and arranged a rally at Sri Mangal town. Advocate Moinur Rahman Mognu, Nilimesh Gosh and Syed Amirizzaman of the committee addressed the rally.
Later on the day, local people under the banner of Kamalganj Unnoyon Parishad submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister through Kamalganj Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mohammed Zahidul Islam Mian to press home the demands, including realising compensation from US oil exploration company Occidental, which was exploring the field.
Another US company Chevron now owns the stakes and liabilities of Occidental at Magurchhara.
After 20 years, Lawachhera forest’s biodiversity is yet to be fully restored. The forest has lost many species of wild animals. According to experts, it will take at least 50 years for the forest to recoup its environmental losses.
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