SMALL Oilfields auction
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, June 28: The BJP-led alliance in the State seems to have landed in a soup with the Centre’s decision to auction off 12 small oilfields of Assam, with alliance partner AGP registering its opposition and asking New Delhi to reconsider the move. After taking over the reins of power in Dispur amidst much euphoria, this is the first time the Sarbanda Sonowal government has been put on the backfoot with widespread protests and bandhs greeting the Centre’s decision.
Former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta today called upon the rendra Modi government to reconsider the decision of auctioning off the 12 oilfields in Assam.
“We are against privatization of any oilfield of the State. We had opposed the move even when the Congress government led by Monmohan Singh planned to privatize oilfields in Assam a few years back. This decision goes against the wishes of the people of Assam. So it should be stopped immediately,” he said.
Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had recently announced the NDA government’s decision to auction 12 small oilfields of Assam.
On being asked if the stand of AGP on privatization of oilfields will affect relations with BJP-led alliance, Mahanta merely said, “Time will tell.”
“We told the BJP before entering into alliance that a coordition committee should be formed. And the government’s decisions will be executed as per discussions within this committee,” he said.
Opposing the Centre’ move, earlier on Monday AGP general secretary Kamala Kanta Kalita had said,”We are against privatization of any oilfield of the State. This decision is against the wishes of the people who had only two months ago voted the BJP-led alliance to power in the state. Privatisation of oilfields takes away the people’s right over State’s resources. We appeal to the Centre to reconsider the decision.”
Meanwhile, Mahanta also appealed to the Centre to release the Rs 10,000 crore oil royalty which is due to the State.
He said that Assam would have got the royalty, had the previous government been a party to the case that the Gujarat government had lodged in the Supreme Court to get higher royalty amount.
“But the previous Assam government did not do anything. Even the then Chief Minister did not bother to write a letter to the then PM in this regard,” he said.