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A letter to Chief Minister, Assam

I am writing this letter to draw your kind attention in the matter of the controversial decision taken by the Union Government regarding proposal for handing over 12 oil fields of Assam to private companies through NELP.

The NELP formulated in 1997 and implemented during the regime of BJP-led Union Government in 1999, mainly offered abandoned fields to private companies. Though a draft policy was made during the UPA Government, the then Petroleum Minister Sri V. Moily to transfer small and margil fields under NELP bids, the then UPA Government did not take a decision to hand over the small & margil fields of Assam to private operators keeping in view the sensitivity of the Assamese people and energy security.

The people of Assam still remember the days of 80’s Assam agitation when the slogan “Tez Dim Tel Nidiu” was written with blood on road and protest was made against some decisions of Central Government by the Assamese people and oil blockade was made a powerful tool of protest.

As the Petroleum Minister has also declared that the Government will invest crores of rupees for new pipeline and other infrastructure on one hand, and on the other hand the decision of the Government to hand over the oil fields for privatization, it puts a question mark on the intentions of the Central Government whether this has been done to benefit some private industrialist having good relation with the Government.

In case the Union Government thinks that OIL and ONGC cannot operate the small & margil fields profitably, some other public sector oil companies like GAIL, IOCL, HPCL who are new entrants in exploration business may form new joint venture company with stake of State level PSUs already formed by Assam Government like Assam Gas Company, Assam Hydro Carbon Ltd etc. So that the people of Assam also be benefited from the oil and gas to be extracted from the soil of Assam and no oil field of Assam is handed over to private industrialists who may have their own interest than the interest of the State and exploit the people and the region for their own interest.

The new Assam Government which promised Swabhiman and promised protection of ‘Jati, Mati & Veti’ may look into the above in the interest of Assam.

It is unfortute that the party which is protesting imposition of Emergency 41 year ago has been resorting to lathi charge, arrest etc. against protests staged democratically by people of Assam on the day on which Emergency was imposed.

The ACLP on behalf of the people of Assam demands that Assam Government must ask the Central Government to reconsider the decision to hand over the margil and small oil fields already discovered by ONGC and OIL in Assam, to private operators through NELP.

Debabrata Saikia, MLA,
Leader of the Opposition,
Assam Legislative Assembly.

About the author

Ankur Kalita