Citizens’ meet on ONGC Assam Asset bifurcation move Correspondent SIVASAGAR , Dec 14 – The Tel Pathar Sangram Parishad (TPSP) as part of its agitation against ONGC’s alleged move to make the Assam Asset a subsidiary company has convened a citizens’ convention in Sivasagar Natya Mandir tomorrow to chalk out the future course of action, Promode Gogoi, the chief convenor of TPSP said at a press meet in Hotel Brindavan, Sivasagar recently.
While trying to justify the agitation launched by TPSP, the veteran CPI leader said that ONGC has all along been working against the interest of the people of Assam at the behest of a section of its own executives who hatch schemes to down play ONGC’s performance in the region to convince the Petroleum Ministry to sell out the region’s oil fields to private parties.
TPSP is opposing privatisation or bifurcation of the Assam Asset unit from ONGC because such a move will curtail employment opportunity of the local educated youths, open the area for exploitation of precious minerals and resources by foreign companies and MNCs, destroy the resource belt by over exploitation, degrade the geological as well as biological environment of the region and put a big stop on all social welfare measures ONGC has been doing, Gogoi said .
It may be pointed out that ONGC’s annual production of crude has come down to just a little over 1.2MT from 3.5MT a decade-and-a-half ago and the ONGC management blames the fall in production mainly on two counts – ageing fields and bandhs and barricades against the ONGC. It may also be mentioned here that under similar socio-cultural and geological environment, OIL (Oil India Ltd), Duliajan has been able to upgrade its production in spite of being a smaller player in the hydro-carbon sector with limited human and technical resource.
ONGC’s top brass, however, do not like to compare the output with that of OIL. Ajit Hazarika, Director, On-Shore, recently said in Sivasagar that OIL has an operational area (17000sq km) much larger than ONGC’s (1800sq km) and faces less obstruction in operational areas.
ONGC’s operational area lies in Sivasagar, Jorhat and a part of Golaghat district, while OIL’s operational area comprises entire Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Lakhimpur and Arunachal Pradesh besides the Brahmaputra river bed.
After the paradigm shift of open economy in 1991, Ministry of Petroleum opened the oil exploration and production sector to private and joint venture companies as well. ONGC had to award the Kharsang field to Geo-Enpro and Geo-Petrol group and OIL in 1995. The Amguri oil field was also awarded to Conoro Resources Ltd, Canada under service contract basis which was declared uneconomical by ONGC management.
TPSP has been raising its voice against privatisation of these fields on the ground that there had been some unethical and conspiratorial moves prior to handing over the Amguri field to Conoro company. A section of ONGC executives then at the verge of retirement sent certificates to the Ministry of Petroleum that Amguri is a dry field and when it was finally handed over to CONORO, they later became its high-profile executives.
But the ONGC authority has been denying any such conspiracies by its own people. A top ONGC executive requesting anonymity told this Correspondent that the leader (chief convenor) of TPSP Promode Gogoi has been trying his best to make privatisation a issue only to garner political mileage as his political prospects in his own constituency is on the ebb. The agitation of the TPSP is a one-man show affair and none of the political parties now other than his own CPI endorses his views, he added.