In the week since the first well overflowed in the Olpad village of Surat district, the situation has only worsened for the villagers there. Groundwater has started pouring out at more than 30 spots across this small village, adjacent to the ‘diamond city’. The unusual geological phenomenon, which first came to notice last week, has triggered fear and panic in the region as both ONGC and NICO are engaged in the exploration of gas and petroleum here.The overflow of water, which had started at nearly 15 places across the village last Friday, is still continuing. A source from Olpad confirmed that water was now gushing out from more cracks in the ground and such bursting occurred in at least two cases inside houses of the villagers.Habib Mahammad, a resident, had earlier told Mail Today that the water started overflowing from a well eight feet higher than a nearby pond. “We have no clue as to the reasons for this highly unusual occurrence,” he said. The sweet water in the village’s wells has turned saline and, as a precautionary measure, the district administration has asked the residents not to use it for drinking.Surat collector A. J. Shah said the phenomenon is being investigated by the Gujarat Water Resource Development Corporation (GWRDC) and ONGC. The water tested so far does not contain any hydrocarbons and is safe, he said, adding, ” But we have asked people not to use it anyway.” However, the GWRDC and ONGC are yet to give their reports.advertisementONGC spokesperson L. M. Joshi said the preliminary examination of the overflowed water did not reveal any traces of hydrocarbons in it, which signifies that the queer development had not been caused by the oil or gas explorations.”We have four wells there and NICO has 12, which are mainly gas wells,” Joshi said, adding, “There are no reports of oil or gas coming out of these wells as of now, but we are still checking our wells to ensure that nothing is wrong from our side.” To monitor the situation, joint meetings have taken place among the district authorities, NICO and ONGC officials.However, geologists maintain that the phenomenon could be the result of extensive oil and gas exploration. Prof K. C. Tiwari of the department of geology in Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, said such incidents could happen due to three reasons.”It could be tidal ingress, an earthquake or the oil and gas explorations,” he said, but hastily discarded the first two theories.”The oil and gas companies often resort to injecting huge volumes of water in the ground to build up pressure for secondary recovery of the resources,” Tiwari said, adding that the bubbles in the water could possibly be due to the presence of gas molecules.Environment activist M. H. Sheikh seconded Prof Tiwari’s last theory. “The exploration in the region is at a very shallow level of 200 to 250 metres. Normally, the exploration is carried out at a depth of 750 metres and beyond,” he said.”The people are scared that the pressure build-up may lead to gas discharge from these wells once the aquifer is exhausted,” Sheikh said.The environmentalist said the development signified “some kind of drastic geological activity” underneath the earth’s surface.”This strange development needs to be studied seriously and adequate measures need to be taken at the earliest. Otherwise, it may lead to a serious fallout soon,” he added.THE WELLS OF WOES- Water started flowing out of wells at 15 places in Olpad last week- Situation has worsened and water is flowing out of 30 spots, including some fissures- Villagers have been advised against drinking the water as it has turned saline- ONGC and NICO denied the role of exploration for this development For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.