Sinlung /
23 September 2015

Nagaland CM Opposes Centre’s Move to Auction Oil Blocks

Kohima, Sep 23 : Nagaland state Chief Minister, TR Zeliang on Monday reiterated his opposition to the auctioning of oil blocks in Nagaland by the Government of India. A press statement from the CMO said that the centre’s action on this would have an adverse effect on the Naga peace process and requested the Government of India to reconsider its decision to auction oil blocks which are located in Nagaland.

Recent reports had cited the Government of India’s decision to put up for competitive bidding the 69 marginal oil fields which have been held by ONGC and OIL, but which have not been exploited.

In a letter addressed to the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, and delivered to him by the Principal Resident Commissioner this afternoon, Zeliang said: “It appears from these reports that there are a few Oil Blocks located in Nagaland which are included in this list of 69 oil fields to be opened for competitive bidding.”

Informing the Union Minister that Nagaland state has framed the Nagaland Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulations 2012 and the Nagaland Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules 2012 in accordance with Article 371-A(1) (a) of the Constitution of India, the CM informed that under these Rules and Regulations, the Government of Nagaland has already invited Expressions Of Interest from interested oil companies, and is in the process of allocating the oil blocks in Nagaland. In view of this, the CM said that the opening up oil fields located within Nagaland to competitive bidding by the Government of India is “not appropriate.”
He also said that such a decision by the Government of India at this juncture would have an “adverse impact on the on-going peace negotiations to resolve the Naga political issue, which is in an advanced stage now.”

The Nagaland state CM further stated that a clear definition of the subject matter relating to ownership of land and its resources in Nagaland as mentioned in Article 371 A of the Constitution of India is “one of the key issues to be resolved in the Naga political dialogues.” Therefore, it requested the Union Minister to consider the matter and “exclude the oil blocks in Nagaland from the purview of the proposed competitive bidding.”

The Chief Minister along with Parliamentary Secretary for Geology and Mining Dr Imtiwapang Aier had camped in New Delhi for a week seeking an appointment with the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas. However, the CMO informed that they had to return to Nagaland last Saturday since the Union Minister was said to be busy with elections in Bihar.

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