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Oil operation stopped in some installations in Asom

Written by: Staff
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Guwahati, Apr 29 (UNI) Operations in a couple of oil installations were stopped and in few others hampered in upper Asom today on the first day of the 72-hour blockade called by student organisations.

Spokesman Nripen Bharali informed from Oil India Limited (OIL) headquarters in Duliajan in eastern Asom that field operations had been stopped in a couple of installations including Chabua by the blockade called by the students.

Talking to UNI over phone, he said, ''field operations have also been affected in other places. In Dikom, blockade supporters tried to stop work but with police intervention, operations were resumed.'' He said the tankers were stopped at various places because of which drilling operations had to be stopped in some places as they ran out of storage facilities.

Maintaing that total losses during the blockade period could not be ascertained now, he said, ''It is too early to calculate the extent of losses. We are keepning a tab on the developments.'' he added that 'substaintial' losses might be incurred if the blockade continued.

Mr Bharali said the Dibrugarh district administrators would hold talks with the student bodies and oil authorities would be intimated in due course.

The oil blockade was called jointly by the All Assam Tai Ahom Students Union, All Assam Moran Students Union and All Assam Muttock Yuba Chatra Sanmelan, alleging neglect of the interests of these communities by the oil major.

The primary demands of the student organisations are a Rs 400 crore special economic package for the development of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts, an assurance to spend 50 per cent of the returns from new oil fields on welfare schemes for these areas, recruitment to vacant posts and creation of new jobs.

The list of demands also included compensation to farmers whose crops are directly or indirectly affected by drilling-related pollution, stipends for teachers and employees of 'venture schools' in the two districts, a super-speciality hospital where people below the poverty line have access to free treatment and a scientific plan to revamp the appointment process.

Most of oil s operations in asom are concentrated in the twin districts of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia.

India produces about 30 million tonne of crude oil annually, with Asom's share about five million tonne. Oil produces about 3.5 million tonne of crude in Asom annually, with the ONGC controlling the other half of oil production in the state.

Asom has over 1.3 billion tonne of proven crude oil and 156 billion cubic metres of natural gas reserves, an estimated 58 per cent of which are yet to be explored. Asom currently produces about five million cubic metres of natural gas annually.

The oil and natural gas installations have always been prime targets of insurgent groups. With the students bodies also joining in disrupting operations, the sector was likely to incur heavy losses.

UNI SG PC AB 1944

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