State govt consultation to finalize oil policy

Chizokho Vero
Kohima | July 13

The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Petroleum & Natural Gas today requested the Tribal Hohos to seriously study and share their views and comments within 15 days on the draft modalities presented by Grant Thornton Advisory Private Limited (GTAPL) at the consultative meeting with tribal hohos and civil societies of Nagaland held here this morning at Hotel Japfu.

GTAPL prepared the document as techno- economic consultant to the state government on petroleum and natural gas for the purpose of formulating modalities for starting oil exploration in Nagaland. Its objective is to study the broad oil policies of some countries and based on which recommend the optimal modalities for the oil bearing area in the state of Nagaland.

The sub cabinet sub-committee made its stand clear that the modalities presented by the former is not final, adding that it needs further discussion within the respective tribal hohos level before it is placed before the cabinet and get approval for legislation in the state assembly. It conveyed to the tribal hohos to seriously study the modalities at their respective tribal hoho levels and submit their findings and suggestions to the Committee by July 31. 

The convenor TR Zeliang said the Committee will submit its report to the cabinet only after receiving views/comments from the tribal hohos. Home minister Imkong L. Imchen also stated that the draft modalities was not final in which one can even supplement or give better ideas in addition to it.

He was also confident that the tribal Hohos would be able to explain the draft modalities to the people to secure a positive step. Also stating that the government was very much particular about law/legality aspect, he assured that the government will do justice to posterity. 

The Committee member secretary H. K. Khulu, IAS said the draft modalities placed before the consultative meeting for discussion by GTPAL was drawn from various global oil policies and best practices. However it is subject to change.

Requesting the tribal hohos to have a threadbare discussion and submit their views and suggestions by July 31, he said the Committee would have another sitting by the Ist week of August after getting their response. 

Earlier, T. R. Zeliang, who is Minister for Planning & Coordination, Veterinary & Animal Husbandry, Parliamentary Affairs in his address said the consultative meeting was convened to create a milestone in the democratic polity of the state.  He said that the second phase of the Cabinet sub-committee had to deal with the toughest task of finding out a proper and workable policy framework for the effective implementation of the special provision for the Nagas of Nagaland state.

The minister said in order to work out an effective policy frame work, the cabinet sub-committee has studied the systems in practice all over the world to find out where and what conditions a scheme of Exploration and Production is successful in tribal land, and further informed that the practices were short listed. 

He said the criteria, thus developed as the policy of the state, addresses the core issue of restoring and retaining the special constitutional safeguards and powers to the Nagas by means of Article 371 A. 

The Minister informed that on 10th March 2011, the Union Minister in Charge of petroleum and Natural gas on the floor of the Loksabha stated that, the Nagaland State government alone has the regulatory powers in the oil and natural gas. Stating that the resolution of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly on 26th July 2010 was a landmark in the history of Nagas and the state, the minister said “This bifurcated the oil and natural gas from the control and domain of the central government and was rolled back to the state.”

He further added that the only effective method that can safeguard the Naga rights and the State government is by way of landowners exercising their ownership right in a constructive way.

“We intend to formulate in such a way that an agreement between land owner and the state, this free exercise of the right by the land owners is unquestionable by the central agencies,” the minister said.

Minister for Forest, Environment, Ecology and Wild Life, Excise MC Konyak, Parliamentary Secretary for Geology & Mining, Irrigation & Flood Control, Boarder Affairs Y.Patton, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport & Communication, Mechanical Engineering P.Dakho Phom and Advisor Information Technology Vikho-O Yhosu and other Government officials were also present in the meeting. 

Many hohos representatives also shared their views to find out acceptable beneficial modalities with the Government of Nagaland. Member Secretary CSC on PNG H.K Khulu delivered the welcome address.