Normalisation of a Disaster
00:08:47, Color, Sound, Single Channel, 16:9

Twenty One (working title)
Video, Photographs, Audio
Photographs inside rehabilitation camps 11 prints, 8Xl0

Landscapes in Baghjan Tryptich, 8Xl0
Screenshot from Videos inlaid with
field recording from the rehabilitation camps 0:03:38, Color, Sound, Single Channel, 8Xl0

Devadeep Gupta
Prakash Bhuyan

Baghjan oil field operated by Govt owned Oil india Limited is located near the Dibru Saikhowa National park in Assam. It is the only riverine island national park globally. It is connected to the Namdapha National park via the dehing patkai Wildlife sanctuary. This sanctuary is part of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. The oil field is also at the close proximity of the Maguri Motapung Wet­land, an important bio- diversity hotspot.

The Baghjan oil field has 21 active wells. Four of which produce gas and the re­maing produce oil. In the middle of the lock down due to Covid 19 pandemic, on May 27, the gas well no 5 blew out with a loud bang in Baghjan village of Assam. On June 9, it caught fire. The well no 5 is in the Baghjan village and is around 900 mtrs from the national park. As in September more than 3000 people from the nearby villages were taking shelter in the relief camps surviving on ration of len­tils, rice and vegitables provided by OIL. OIL has paid INR 2.5 million (about USD 34,000) each to 12 families whose houses were completely destroyed, the others were given INR 30,000 (USD 400) as compensation.

Some of their houses were in the so-called high-security zone, close to the well, and many had burnt down or been flooded. Villagers have to sign a document to visit their houses. After four months of constant noise from the well, the locals have become used to shouting at each other for even routine conversations.

Chronicles of an Inferno is a collective, reactionary work aimed towards raising questions against the systematic process of resource extraction in the region and industrial marginalisation of indigenous tribes. At the same time, it urges the viewers to question the normalisation of such disasters in popular culture.