By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, July 18: Taking his battle with the Opposition Congress to a new level, BJP leader and State Fince minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today targeted former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the issue of oil royalty on pre-discounted prices, alleging that the Rajya Sabha MP from Assam ‘conspired’ against the State to prevent it from getting its due.
Sarma said that after the Gujarat High Court gave a ruling directing ONGC to pay the State government Rs 10,000 crore as part of the pending royalty on pre-discounted price, the Central government under Manmohan Singh filed a special leave petition at the Supreme Court against the judgment.
In February 2014, the apex court stayed the high court order, but told ONGC to pay royalty at the pre-discount price starting that month, Sarma said, dragging in former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi who, he said, “colluded in the conspiracy.”
“Had the Central government then not challenged the order, the states would have got the royalty on pre-discounted price from 2008 itself. Because of the Central government’s move, we lost around Rs 8,000 crore,” Sarma said.
He questioned why former CM Tarun Gogoi was silent then and raised the issue only after the BJP government came to power.
“Had I not had persol respect for Manmohan Singh, I would have raised it in a censure motion in the Assembly against him,” the Fince minister said.
The Union Petroleum minister had two days back issued a notification stating that oil producers would have to pay royalty to crude oil producing states such as Assam, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil du at pre-discount rates.”It has been decided that ONGC and Oil India will pay royalty to all similarly placed crude oil-producing states at pre-discount prices effective February 1, 2014, pending the outcome of the special leave appeal filed by ONGC before the Supreme Court,” the Petroleum ministry order said on Friday.