In support of the Azah on natural resources

Kedi Haralu

It is surprising that only the NSCN (IM) has reacted to the newspaper headlines that ONGC has still been given the Clearance after literally raping our resources, since Nagas in those days were naïve and illiterate, but things have changed. Due to pursuing our studies in Indian Metros and also overseas, most Nagas are now learning the fact that we are rich in resources and also realized that we can be comfortably live our lives in luxury and then leaving the best for the generations to come. We have fuel shortage, even though parts of Nagaland are literally floating on crude oil, just ready to be drilled. But what are we going to gain by all these resources? If we go as per the agreement signed by the Government of India and Nagaland is null and void, since the issue of land ownership arise. The Government may go ahead and issue licenses and sign a million agreements, but without the consent of all the people of Nagaland, it is not worth a rupee. Have we Nagas lost all our pride due to our greed for money? It is only when the Nagas get the major portion of the share then Nagas can agree, but with its past records, the ONGC is a curse rather then a blessing and it is quite stupid on our part if we are willing to sign an agreement for a tiny amount of money.

The million dollar question is, why the NSF has or the Naga HOHO not reacted to this latest development, which has made headlines in the Local daily. Even the NMA are silent, so what is actually going on? The NSCN (IM) has passed an Azha on any companies coming in to Nagaland , but it should not only be the NSCN (IM) but other over ground and underground organizations passing such Azha’s or is it the fact that only the NSCN (IM) has not been bought by the Indian Agencies. How can the Government allow any company be it international, national and also national workers. Conaro is a well known drilling company which has its base in Canada, but who do they think they are? They can do whatever they want to do in Assam, but if they want to work in Nagaland, they have to be more transparent with the general population, for the government does not own the land plus we have all rights due to the Article 371 (A) in the Indian Constitution, that not an inch of land belongs to the Government, so the Companies should first understand the people of Nagaland and also stick to their early agreement, instead of taking advantage of our hospitable character and the purity of heart. I take this opportunity to rewrite an article I had written on this subject, since I realized that the Nagaland Government will agree with anyone as long as they are getting some easy money. But unfortunately they are only inviting violence, misunderstanding and hate amongst the Nagas, this if anything untoward happens the Government will have to answer to the people of Nagaland.

I take this opportunity to put in an old article which had been published a few years back and that it had a very good reponse:

Tapping our Resources - NSF & Naga HOHO must finish what they started!!

Oil exploration in Nagaland has always been a thorn to every ministry, be it the National Parties or Regional party, and every NGO or Student body has, at a drop of a hat, if there’s any talk of drilling, made a hue and cry of the same old oil issue. In the long run only some Organizations the only ones making any profit, for Oil Companies prefer to bribe their way in, rather then educate the general public of the usefulness of allowing drilling companies to venture into Nagaland. But here again, they should not have any monopoly over the drilling operations, but instead train and assist various State Departments such as the Geology and Mining plus the Union Petroleum Ministry’s affiliated Departments in the State. If Delhi was really serious about the drilling operations in Nagaland, they must include both the Member of Parliaments from Nagaland in the Parliamentary Standing Committee in the Parliament, thus giving Nagas more say on the economy generated, and channeled directly to the State coffers. If this had been done earlier, Nagaland would have been amongst the richest States in India , but this is exactly what Delhi does not want to see happen. For with Nagaland being a free economy and not a welfare State, we will be able to dictate terms to Delhi . What the various factions or Organizations need to realize is that the huge profits generated from the crude Oil by Private and Government privatized Companies such as Canadian affiliated Canoro Resource Ltd, OIL, Geo-Petrol International and GeoEnpro Petroleum and the infamous ONGC, the money they may be getting is not even a drop in a bucket. Therefore in one way or the other it is the general public who suffers, and with such a scenario who would want Independence . It is a fact that Economic Independence is the first step of gaining absolute Sovereignty and Independence . What the people of Nagaland in general do not realize is that out of all the Crude Oil being trucked out, the Oil Companies do their mathematics, so that they are still earning and getting a hundred percent dividend (e.g. If ten tankers come out of the drilling site, only five to six trucks reach their actual destination. It is all a simple method of managing the “account book.”) Nagaland, if verified with the Geology and Mining department, is literally floating on Oil and places like Champang are being drained out from the Assam side, thus the Drilling Companies “mostly people of Assam ” ensure that their State enjoys their neighbors mineral resources. I think it was way back in the seventies or eighties that the NSF and other NGO’s had stopped the ONGC from continuing their drilling, for unlike Private Companies the ONGC’s policy of “what we pump, is what is ours” had spoiled relations with the Nagas. But now with the technical know how available and Western Countries willing to invest, why not get involved and fill up the States Coffers. Scientifically it has been proved that the oil deposit underground shifts every few decades, therefore if Nagaland does not make the most of it now, it will be too late and it is not the Centre or the Drilling Companies that suffers, but only us. If we calculate the amount of petroleum (crude oil) being pumped out, which in the International Market is about $80 per barrel, imagine how many barrels will be pumped out daily, weekly monthly and yearly ($80 comes to approximately Rs 4500/- to Rs 4800/- depending on the fluctuating rate of the dollar). If we calculate our loss at this present stage, do you know how much barrels are being pumped out from Champang by ONGC from the Assam side? I don’t, nor does 99.9 % of the Nagas in Nagaland. I think it is high time the NSF and the Naga HOHO started looking for answers and also why the States Geology and Mining Department of the State is usually sidelined apart from the heads of the Department and what steps the Government of Nagaland is taking and also with whom they are making deals with and what percentages theses Drilling Companies are offering, plus what promises they have given and last but not the least. Who is negotiating on our behalf? I have never heard of a “Petroleum Department” in the Government of Nagalands infrastructure, nor has there any Government Policy on making use of Nagalands rich deposits of various minerals, but it is somewhat of a surprise to see in the front page of an English Daily, with the headlines in the front page saying “State’s oil and gas blocks likely to be auctioned” (NELP-VII to be largest auction of oil and gas blocks). Wake up! We cannot compare ourselves with United States, but it is rather innovative and farsighted on their path, they have their Mineral (Oil) Reserves comfortably and safely tucked away (they have tapped oil fields and sealed them for times of emergency, plus are in constant study and research of their reserves thus updated on their mineral assets). All their petroleum needs are being bought from the Middle East and the old Soviet Union States, thus ensuring that they eat their neighbors food and leave the empty plate for the owner, at the same time cleverly tucking away their own food for the next meal. Did you know, America can survive for more then three years in the case of a holocaust or world war, and one can imagine, if they could take over Saudi Arabia and throw out Sadam’s Regime within a few days, how much they are capable of in three years? It was during Mani Shankar’s tenure as the Union Minister of Petroleum Ministry various Private Companies such as Canadian affiliated Canoro Resource Limited, OIL, Geo Petrol International and GeoEnpro Petroleum were allowed to come in to the State, but what is the use if our own Departments are not fully involved and Nagaland gets the hugest chunk of the profit? Nagaland which comes under NELP-VII, is being given out for auction, this is a positive step, but there needs to be a fully bifurcated department which will deal solely for this purpose and also both the MP’s from Nagaland should be given the opportunity to be in the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of Petroleum, for they are in New Delhi representing Nagaland and are in constant touch with various Union Ministries. Conclusion, I am surprised the Naga public remains as ignorant as before on the issue of Petroleum and Drilling Companies, for the recent news item in a certain English daily had published the latest Petroleum Policy in its front page.

It Is time as citizens of Nagaland, we started demanding for more Education and Awareness on the policy of petroleum, then and only then will the Naga populace give their approval and consent, thus eliminating all avenues of “making a fast buck” by certain Organizations, Political parties and individuals. The NSF had started the petroleum debate or to be more specific “Petroleum Agitation”, now it is again up to them to finish it and also not get a sour deal! It is wrong to blindly oppose the drilling, but it is also wrong to give ones approval and consent without having a clue about the whole issue. I remember a joke during the Agitation so let me leave you with this – An Organization had been invited to meet with the ONGC big wigs so that a deal could be struck and the agitation stopped. So, during the meeting the Scientists and experts of the ONGC gave a wonderful presentation of oil drilling and the economics of OIL export, one after the other. Unfortunately, none of the Leaders of the Organization could understand what was being presented and everything the ONGC experts said was too scientific for them and went straight over their head. Finally having had enough one of the Leaders stood up and said, “Apuni khan ki kwa se ami na jane. Hoile be, moi kobole mon thaka tu, ONGC means, Oil Nathakilebi Gari Chulibo!”) Nagaland, if verified with the Geology and Mining department, is literally floating on Oil and places like Champang are being drained out from the Assam side, thus the Drilling Companies “mostly people of Assam ” ensure that their State enjoys their neighbors’ mineral resources. I think it was way back in the seventies or eighties that the NSF and other NGO’s had stopped the ONGC from continuing their drilling, for unlike Private Companies the ONGC’s policy of “what we pump, is what is ours” had spoiled relations with the Nagas. But now with the technical know how available and Western Countries willing to invest, why not get involved and fill up the States Coffers. Scientifically it has been proved that the oil deposit underground shifts every few decades, therefore if Nagaland does not make the most of it now, it will be too late and it is not the Centre or the Drilling Companies that suffers, but only us. If we calculate the amount of petroleum (crude oil) being pumped out, which in the International Market is about $80 per barrel, imagine how many barrels will be pumped out daily, weekly monthly and yearly ($80 comes to approximately Rs 4500/- to Rs 4800/- depending on the fluctuating rate of the dollar). If we calculate our loss at this present stage, do you know how much barrels are being pumped out from Champang (4) by ONGC from the Assam side? I don’t, nor does 99.9 % of the Nagas in Nagaland. I think it is high time the NSF and the Naga HOHO started looking for answers and also why the States Geology and Mining Department of the State is usually sidelined apart from the heads of the Department and what steps the Government of Nagaland is taking and also with whom they are making deals with and what percentages theses Drilling Companies are offering, plus what promises they have given and last but not the least. Who is negotiating on our behalf? I have never heard of a “Petroleum Department” in the Government of Nagalands infrastructure, nor has there any Government Policy on making use of Nagalands rich deposits of various minerals, but it is somewhat of a surprise to see in the front page of an English Daily, with the headlines in the front page saying “State’s oil and gas blocks likely to be auctioned” (NELP-VII to be largest auction of oil and gas blocks). Wake up! We cannot compare ourselves with United States, but it is rather innovative and farsighted on their path, they have their Mineral (Oil) Reserves comfortably and safely tucked away (they have tapped oil fields and sealed them for times of emergency, plus are in constant study and research of their reserves thus updated on their mineral assets). All their petroleum needs are being bought from the Middle East and the old Soviet Union States, thus ensuring that they eat their neighbors food and leave the empty plate for the owner, at the same time cleverly tucking away their own food for the next meal. Did you know, America can survive for more then three years in the case of a holocaust or world war, and one can imagine, if they could take over Saudi Arabia and throw out Sadam’s Regime within a few days, how much they are capable of in three years? It was during Mani Shankar’s tenure as the Union Minister of Petroleum Ministry various Private Companies such as Canadian affiliated Canoro Resource Limited, OIL, Geo Petrol International and GeoEnpro Petroleum were allowed to come in to the State, but what is the use if our own Departments are not fully involved and Nagaland gets the hugest chunk of the profit? Nagaland which comes under NELP-VII, is being given out for auction, this is a positive step, but there needs to be a fully bifurcated department which will deal solely for this purpose and also both the MP’s from Nagaland should be given the opportunity to be in the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of Petroleum, for they are in New Delhi representing Nagaland and are in constant touch with various Union Ministries. Conclusion, I am surprised the Naga public remains as ignorant as before on the issue of Petroleum and Drilling Companies, for the recent news item in a certain English daily had published the latest Petroleum Policy in its front page. It Is time as citizens of Nagaland, we started demanding for more Education and Awareness on the policy of petroleum, then and only then will the Naga populace give their approval and consent, thus eliminating all avenues of “making a fast buck” by certain Organizations, Political parties and individuals. The NSF had started the petroleum debate or to be more specific “Petroleum Agitation”, now it is again up to them to finish it and also not get a sour deal! It is wrong to blindly oppose the drilling, but it is also wrong to give ones approval and consent without having a clue about the whole issue. I remember a joke during the Agitation so let me leave you with this – An Organization had been invited to meet with the ONGC big wigs so that a deal could be struck and the agitation stopped. So, during the meeting the Scientists and experts of the ONGC gave a wonderful presentation of oil drilling and the economics of OIL export, one after the other. Unfortunately, none of the Leaders of the Organization could understand what was being presented and everything the ONGC experts said was too scientific for them and went straight over their head. Finally having had enough one of the Leaders stood up and said, “Apuni khan ki kwa se ami na jane. Hoile be, moi kobole mon thaka tu, ONGC means, Oil Nathakilebi Gari Chulibo!”)