The Assam Congress today asked Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to appeal to the Centre to reconsider its decision to hand over marginal and small oilfields to private firms who may “exploit people and the region for their own interest”.
“The Congress Legislature Party, on behalf of the people of Assam, demands that the state government must ask the Central government to reconsider the Centre’s controversial decision to hand over 12 state oilfields to private companies,” Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Debabrata Saikia said in a letter to the chief minister.
“The decision of the Centre to hand over oilfields for privatisation has raised the question whether it has been done to benefit some private industrialists who are on good terms with the government,” he alleged.
In case the Centre thinks that OIL and ONGC cannot operate small and marginal fields profitably, some other public sector companies like GAIL, IOCL, HPCL, who are new entrants in exploration business, may form new joint venture companies with state-level PSUs like Assam Gas Company, Assam Hydro Carbon Limited etc so that people can be benefited, the letter said.
“No oilfield of the state should be handed over to private industrialists who may put their own interest before that of the state and exploit people and the region for their own interest,” Saikia said.
The new government had promised ‘Swabhiman’ (self-respect) and protection of ‘Jati, Mati and Veti’ (Identity, Land and Resources) and now must not ignore the interest of Assam and its people, he said.
“It is unfortunate that the party which was protesting imposition, is now resorting to lathicharge, arrests etc on democratic protests against the proposed handing over of oilfields to private operators,” the Congress legislator from Nazira added.