Wednesday, December 7, 2022

RPP raps state on oil exploration

Reacting to the reports of Nagaland receiving “an indication” from the Assam government to equally divide the proceedings of petroleum exploration and extraction between the two states along a few sectors of Disputed Area Belt (DAB), the Rising People’s Party (RPP) Friday said that the state government was “obligated to be transparent and accountable” on the issue.
RPP said it was not against exploration and extraction of petroleum and natural gas in the state, but expressed the view that there were two issues at hand—exploration and revenue sharing in DAB and exploration and extraction within Nagaland proper.
In this regard, the party has asked the state government how much was Assam government’s revenue till date from oil extraction in sectors A, B, C, D, E and F that fell along DAB?
Since Assam has been extracting petroleum along DAB for several decades, RPP asked whether Nagaland would get the accumulated share of revenue due to it? Further, RPP questioned whether the proposed MoU was on 50: 50 share basis? It also asked whether Nagaland would go ahead with the MoU if Assam insisted that sharing formula would be restricted to sectors A, B, and C only? With regard to exploration within proper Nagaland, the party said that oil and mineral resources fell under the ambit of Article 371 A.
However, as per the Nagaland Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulations and Rules 2012, the RPP said it was “bewildered by the myopic conclusion” in fixing the state’s share of profit at a meagre 16% minimum for petroleum and 12% minimum for natural gas. RPP asserted that the state’s share in this case should not be less than 50%.
If the state government went ahead with 16% profit formula, RPP said it would conclude that the present dispensation has “an ulterior motive.”
Until the percentage was rectified, RPP said the state government “should not hastily sign any memorandums and agreements with any entity.”

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