Guwahati, Feb 10: Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said pursuing its demand for higher oil royalty at the pre-discounted price, the Mines and Mineral department of the State government had in 2014 filed a case in the Gauhati High Court seeking higher oil royalty. The higher oil royalty was sought for the crude oil extracted by the Oil and tural Gas Company (ONGC) and Oil India Limited (OIL) from the State’s oil fields. The matter at present is pending before the court. Gogoi’s statement came a day after the Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan asked the State government approach the judiciary for recovering around Rs 10,000 crore of pending oil royalty from PSU firms.
Referring to the directions of the Supreme Court through which Gujarat was able to recover its royalty dues, the CM, however, wondered whether the directions were not applicable for other states.
“Is the royalty different for different states? The SC order is applicable to all. On one hand, the BJP talks of Team India and on the other they leave the states to fend for themselves. I have never seen a minister who suggests court cases against the government,” Gogoi said, adding that the Petroleum minister had initially committed to address the issue.
Reacting to Pradhan’s announcement of a Rs 13,00,00-crore investment in the region, Gogoi questioned why Central ministers were making such “huge announcements on the eve of the elections.”
“The NRL had sent an expansion proposal, but the Central government is sitting on it. It has also sought 53 per cent capital subsidy like it was given in case of BCPL, but there has been no response from the Centre,” he said.
Irked at the “deluge” of Central ministers ahead of the assembly elections, Gogoi said he has asked his officers to prepare a report on the expenditure incurred by the State government on such visits and the money the State got from the Central ministers.
“I have always said Vajpayee had helped me a lot, I admit that in public. If I get support, I acknowledge it. What is there to hide,” the CM said.
He also accused BJP president Amit Shah of indulging in a misinformation campaign.
“He is saying, we have not given utilization certificates. Why is the Central government releasing the funds then? The normal funds haven’t stopped coming. I am only complaining about the special funds the State was getting and the change in funding pattern, which have nothing to do with UCs,” Gogoi said.
Reacting to reports which indicate that the High Court has restricted distribution of materials under the CM’s special package scheme, Gogoi said, “The Gauhati High Court has no problem with us in distributing the items. But it has said the distribution should be done in a proper manner.”