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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Oil exploration consultative meet in Nagaland remains inconclusive

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KOHIMA, May 10 (PTI): The consultative meeting of Nagaland government with stakeholders and apex tribal bodies on oil exploration and implementation of RIIN remained inconclusive with the decision to hold further consultations before arriving at the final conclusion, a government spokesperson said.

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With apex tribal organisations and civil societies raising objection to the decision of the state government to sign an MoU with Assam government on Oil and Natural Gas Exploration and implementation of Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) with two different dates – December 1, 1963 and November 1979, the state government on Tuesday held a meeting with them which lasted for almost six hours.

Briefing media persons, minister for Power and Parliamentary Affairs, K G Kenye said that the meeting was “very fruitful” with the government presenting extensive background of oil exploration in the state since the early 1970s on the oil and gas sectors along the Nagaland-Assam Disputed Area Belt.

Discussions were also held on RIIN for which the Bano Commission had submitted its report to the government while the government is seeking the opinion of the people on its implementation and how to go about.

He also said that The Nagaland Village and Tribal Councils Act of 1978 and the issue of framing a new Act for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) was also deliberated, he said.

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“The consultative meeting was about opinions of the various stakeholders, tribal bodies and the civil societies on what they think on the issues in the form of opinions and suggestions and we had a fruitful discussion,” he said.

Asked whether the attendees agreed on the proposed signing of MoU with Assam government on oil exploration, Kenye said that initially it was “misunderstood” that the MoU was already inked but in actuality it is yet to be signed while the chief ministers of the two states had agreed in principle on certain matters of oil exploration.

Principal secretary and home commissioner, Abhijit Sinha said that the marathon meeting has almost finalised implementation of RIIN but further consultations will be held on the cut-off date.

The government explained the Village and Tribal Council Act and made the people aware of its proper usage, he said.

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“These are all a process of consultation and we hope to reach unanimity at all cost before inking the MoU”, he said.

Advisor for Soil and Water Conservation and IPR and MLA, Imkong L Imchen said that 50:50 oil royalty sharing between the two states was never proposed from any quarter till today but because of the initiative of chief minister Neiphiu Rio and also with due intervention of union home minister a breakthrough has been made and it has been agreed in principle.

Except on principle term, the details on MoU are yet to be worked out, he said, adding that Rio during the meeting affirmed that Nagaland was entering into any agreement with Assam or a bilateral or the tripartite agreement between Nagaland-Assam-Government of India on oil exploration without a consensus.

A breakthrough has been made and it is a good sign, he said, affirming that further suggestions have been put forth by the stakeholders which will be taken into due consideration.

On the proposed formation of a committee for drafting the new Nagaland Municipal Act, he said that the government will make the announcement at the earliest.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttp://www.thehillstimes.in
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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