Maintaining that auctioning of oil blocks by the Union Government will have an adverse effect on the Naga peace process, Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang on Monday requested the Union government to reconsider its decision to auction oil blocks in the state.
In a letter to Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Zeliang quoted media reports on the decision of the Union Government to put up 69 marginal oil fields, which have been held by ONGC and OIL, but not been exploited, for competitive bidding.
"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," he said.
The CM reminded the Union Minister that "the 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."
Under these Rules and Regulations, Zeliang said the Nagaland Government has already invited Expressions of Interest from interested oil companies, and is in the process of allocating oil blocks in Nagaland.
In view of this, he said it is felt that opening up oil fields located within Nagaland for competitive bidding by the Union government was not appropriate.
Zeliang also said such a decision by the Union government would have an "adverse impact on the ongoing peace negotiations to resolve the Naga political issue, which is in an advanced stage now."
"It is understood that a clear definition of the subject matter relating to ownership of land and its resources in Nagaland is one of the key issues to be resolved in the Naga political dialogues," he added.