GUWAHATI: Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said that without contribution from the oil sector the economic future of Assam is bleak, and which is why the State Government has adopted a policy of going ahead with a cordial partnership with this sector.
Speaking at a function here on the payment of a cheque amounting to Rs 500 crore to OIL (Oil India Limited) as the first instalment of the State Government's enhanced equity in the NRL (Numaligarh Refinery Ltd) from 12 per cent to 26 per cent, Sarma said, "Assam gets something from everything OIL produces in the State. Following the enhanced equity in NRL, we need to pay OIL Rs 2,150 crore. We're going to pay the remaining amount by September this year. We have to pay OIL the equity amount as it has already paid the amount, Rs 2,150 crore to the Centre on our behalf.
"So far we've got Rs 1,235 crore as dividend from NRL against our investment in it. We will get our invested amount, Rs 2,150 crore, back from NRL as a dividend in the coming four to five years.
"The people of Assam have an emotional attachment with NRL that emerged out of the Assam Accord. We had to decide to enhance the State Government's equity in NRL to prevent it from being privatized.
"The State Government's income from non-taxable resources is very less, and that makes us depend largely on the Centre and borrowings from the market. The decision to invest in the oil sector will make Assam self-dependent on revenue generation. It's a prudent business decision. Our enhanced equity in NRL will make the Centre seek our consent if it wants to de-invest from NRL in future.
"After NRL brings the crude oil from Paradeep in Odisha through pipeline, it would be refined in Assam, and then the oil will be exported to Bangladesh, Myanmar and others. The crude oil from Paradeep would substantially raise the capacity of the three refineries in Assam – Bongaigaon, Guwahati and NRL."
OIL Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) Sushil Chandra Mishra said, "OIL and NRL are committed to developing Assam. We'll ensure the sustainable growth of NRL. We're going to invest Rs 1,500 crore in NRL in the coming four to five years.
"OIL has decided to provide 12-15 per cent jobs to the local youths. OIL and NRL will play an important role in the economic and industrial development of Assam. We'll extend all help to make Assam one of the five top states of the country."
State Finance Minister Ajanta Neog, Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary and Agriculture Minister Atul Bora also spoke on the occasion.