BORDUMSA: Kharsang in Changlang District of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh has been boiling since June 25 last following the termination of 19 contractual employees by the employer 'Geo-Enpro Petroleum Ltd' in June amidst the nationwide lockdown. The employyees whose jobs have been terminated include three on payrolls and 16 contractual workers.
The company is carrying out its operations in the Kharsang Oil Field located around 50 kilometers east of Digboi Refinery.
The company in one of its termination letter no. GEPL/PSC/BID/COOKING &MESS SERVICES/2013-14//020 DATED 01.10.2013 addressed to M/s Thomas Rekhung invoking contract clause no 36 (increase and decrease in rates for wages/number of manpower/scope of work) terminated five contractual employees identified as Kamal Malhotra, Bimen Ngemu, Ghanshyam Bora, Songnong Rongrang, and Rockong Thamkok from June 26, 2020.
Similarly under a similar condition, Paswan Sangwai and Samlong Yanchang were terminated via letter GTPL/KBG/TL/2020; and likewise, 19 employees were sacked all of a sudden by the company without prior notice amidst the nationwide lockdown.
Meanwhile challenging the arbitrary the decision of the company and terming the action as "monopoly and exploitative", several local tribal organizations including the Tangsa Youth Association (TYA), Kharsang Circle unemployed Youth Association (KCUYA), All Changlang District Students' Union (ACDSU) and All Tangsa Student Union (ATSU) have called for a massive stir against the company following its indifferent attitude despite repeated meetings, prayers and petitions. The aggrieved local organizations have been demanding the immediate reinstatement of the sacked employees.
"Since there has been no outcome on the issue even after several persuasions and requests to the company, we — the NGOs and Associations along with the public of Kharsang — have unanimously resolved to call an indefinite bandh on the movement of browsers (oil Tankers) to coming from Digboi to transport the crude oil from July 15, 2020 onwards", states a letter dated July 14, 2020 addressed to Kamlung Mossang — the local MLA of Miao.
The letter further stated, "We would never tolerate the injustice wherein the sons of the soil are deprived of their basic rights and privileges in order to fill up their corporate coffers."
KCUYA president Munpong Khimhun stated, "We submitted a memorandum, served petitions, held demonstrations, had meetings twice, and once in the office of the Miao ADC; but the company stands firm in its arbitrary decisions .
Meanwhile, MLA of nearby Bordumsa-Diyun Somlung Mossang has given his sharp reaction on the job termination of the bonafide local youths of Kharsang. He said, "How can the company trading in Arunachal's Kharsang dare think of rendering the local youths jobless whatever is the ground." The MLA, who resides 15 Kilometers north of Kharsang, added, "It is high time that the company reconsiders its decision and come forward to restore peace in the area. I've heard that the company is considering a few employees for re-employment; but I insist that all the 19 sacked employees be immediately absorbed back."
The company is one of the partners of the four consortiums having a share in the oil and gas exploration projects in Kharsang Oil Field. They have been operating after the Government of India awarded them the bid under the 'Production Sharing Contract' (PSC).
The oil tankers from Digboi regularly fetch crude oil from Kharsang passing through Jagun's Namphai Reserve Forest bordering Assam and Arunachal. The belt being vulnerable and militant infested, several incidents of violence, kidnapping and torching of oil tankers, unlawful demands have been reported over a period of time. It may be recalled here that nine oil tankers loaded with crude oil from Kharsang OCS were torched at a distance of around five kilometers from the Kharsang oil field in Namphai Reserve Forest earlier in January, 2018.