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Chevron, an international oil company, has launched an investigation to identify the causes behind the cracks developed in the houses in Lawachhara area of Moulvibazar where it has been conducting a seismic survey.

There have been press reports that cracks have developed in a number of houses of the area following the start of Chevron's 3D seismic survey.

Local residents alleged that the cracks have developed in their houses because of the seismic survey.

When contacted, Chevron Bangladesh chief Steve Wilson told the news agency that his company has initiated an investigation following reports on cracks in some houses of Lawachhara area.

“We take up such claims seriously and will act accordingly. We've taken extreme care and special precautions in conducting the seismic work in locations where there are human settlements,” he said.

Wilson said a safe zone of a 75-metre radius is respected around household structures to avoid any impact. Usually, the impact from the seismic waves is not strong enough to make structural damages.

About the formation of a new monitoring committee, he said Chevron welcomes it and considers its formation as an opportunity for the company to demonstrate that the seismic work is being carried out in full compliance with the Environment Management Plan approved by the government.

Steve, however, said he had conveyed his concern to Petrobangla that no representative of Petrobangla and Chevron has been taken “onboard” the committee, which, he believes, would have facilitated good coordination.

He said Chevron will continue to provide its full cooperation to make sure all terms of the ECC are followed. It is recommended that any new committee will be seen as supplemental to the existing monitoring team and that the new committee also carries out its responsibilities in the spirit of the ECC.

Refuting an allegation that Chevron has not been providing support to the committee, the Chevron chief said the Ministry of Environment notified about the formation of the committee.

“But no further communication has been made by any member of the committee as yet. Therefore, the question of not proving support is not true,” he added.

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