Asom Gana Parishad, the regional party which is a partner in the BJP-led alliance government in Assam, has opposed the move of government’s decision of auctioning its oil and natural gas fields.
Addressing a press conference jointly with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in Guwahati a few days back, Union Minister for Petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan had announced that 12 of the marginal oil and natural gas fields of Assam will be opened for global bid from July 15.
On Monday, Dr. Kamala Kalita, leader of Asom Gana Parishad who also fought the Assembly polls from Chaygaon Constituency, said, ‘Asom Gana Parishad has always opposed the privatisation of natural resources of Assam. Today also, we stand by our principle. Privatisation of oil sector will deprive the local people from their rights. Centre should review its decision for the interest of people of Assam.”
Global bid would be invited for the 12 oil fields to select the players to exploit and monetise them. These fields hold estimated reserve of 21 million metric tonnes of oil and natural gas.
Notably, the Centre had to stall privatisation of the Bongaigaon Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (BRPL), for three years as recommended by disinvestment commission in the year 1997 after it faced stiff opposition from Asom Gana Parishad, the party which was in power in the state led by P.K. Mahanta. The Centre managed to sell it to Indian Oil Corporation in the year 2001, when Congress came to power in the state.
Though AGP has finally opened its mouth publicly against the move of the centre supported by Sarbanada Sonowal led state government, it is unlikely that they will be able to stall the move as there are only 14 MLAs from the party in the 126-member Assam Assembly.
On the other hand, Congress, the main opposition party in Assam Assembly, has also opposed the move of auctioning oil and natural fields of Assam. Congress leader Tarun Gogoi has vowed for bringing these fields under public undertaking of state govt for the interest of the people of Assam.
Syeda Ambia Zahan