Oil Talk: From welfare to richest State

Kedi Haralu

Champang has suddenly become a hot topic after all these years of silence, but what we have been festering deep within has become a festered boil, ready to burst, which needs to burst, so that all the dirt or puss can finally be drained out and then the healing process will start.  The ONGC has done enough damage, but the biggest mistakes on their part was to try to cover up the already dug and drilled wells, and had never warned the people of Champang that they were not only living on an oilfield, but also a minefield, which could explode at the slightest interference or natural calamity. It will not only be the total destruction of one area, but also mostly half of Nagaland. How can they be so irresponsible? Yes it is understood that they had their hands full, with the interference of the Tribal HOHO’s and the Student bodies, but we are not so dumb that we will not understand if they told the truth. In fact, I am sure the Tribal Bodies as well as Student Bodies would have given them the necessary support if only the ONGC had been more transparent and down to earth. But Nagaland is now paying he price for the Companies apathy and complacency. This needs to be tackled at the earliest. 

The positive side to the “Oil Saga” is the present Governments’ interest in our states economy, with a young and energetic leader, as the present Chief Minister, and their professional way of approaching and trying to tackle the mess is very encouraging. Now, unlike earlier days, the concerned departments in the State have been given the full support so that they can go ahead with their own initiative plus knowing fully well that they will be guided and aided by Foreign Companies who have the technical know how plus all the infrastructure necessary, and thee most significant, their availability of funds. I do not see why we should complain and fight amongst ourselves, for we all realize that every inch of land has an owner, on the other hand every drop of oil extracted will be directed directly to our States coffers, thus boosting our economy. I to had been very worried of the state of affairs in the past dealings, thus had written numerous articles as an eye opener for the Nagas (articles that were published is most dailies were, 1. tapping our Resources 2. Tapping our Resources part II 3. In support of the Azha, passed by the Secretary of Forest, Environment and Minerals, NSCN (IM) and numerous other articles. But now I have seen the change that has occurred and the transparency of whatever deals are taking place between the Government of Nagaland and various Multi National Companies who are into drilling, thus I believe it is my duty as a conscious Naga to point out not only negative aspects, but also positive aspects, which will encourage those who are giving all their energy and effort for the betterment of the Naga economy. Self Reliance, to me, is the biggest portion of our Independence.

The picture which had been published in the front page of the Eastern Mirror is I believe a major victory and a major step towards our goal for transparency and truth. Although I can refute the caption, regarding who got the royalty, it is not healthy to start a fresh game of finger pointing and digging up old wounds, but we need to focus on the present and that in future we may never make the same mistakes. I always like to take examples of countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia Brunei etc which are geographically the size of our State and some even smaller, but are amongst the richest Countries in the world. The reason for this is rather very simple. Their unity and their respect for one another has ensured that all get their share of the bounty, plus paying the Government what is owed to them, thus boosting their economy and their future. Remember these are all countries dominated by Islam, thus as a Christian state we should be much ahead. But sadly, our disunity and our distrust plus greed will never let us achieve the level of our expectations. The open war of words and counters in the local dailies just proves my point.

Why can’t we just sit back and let the experts do their survey and their study plus their GPS mappings and only after the have drilled and successfully struck oil, then we can start talking about who owns what and who should receive how much. For Surveys and Studies will cost the Multi National Oil Companies a lot of money, but they do not expect a penny from our side, but just our moral support. Our Moral Support will not cost us anything, but the ultimate reward will be a boosted economy, which will enable us to stand on our own two feet and not depend on New Delhi as a Welfare State. What we need to realize is that as long as we are getting funds from New Delhi, we cannot dictate terms to them. It is a shameful thought and deed to say things or do things against those who are feeding us. Until and unless we stop taking the financial assistance from New Delhi in the form of subsidies and grants and when the funds are exhausted, we are back at Delhi with our begging bowl, so what right do we have to go against them and also how can we accuse them of injustice and step motherly treatment, plus to put the icing on the cake, demand freedom or Independence.