Millennium Post

'Why is Gujarat getting more oil royalty?' asks Assam CM Gogoi

Peeved over lesser prices offered by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) to Assam than Gujarat for crude oil, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday threatened to take 'strong steps' like halting operations of the energy giant in his state for doing such 'great injustice'.

'I am extremely unhappy with the behaviour of the ONGC.'ONGC is giving Gujarat government market price for the crude oil produced there but denying the same to Assam. We cannot tolerate such great injustice. We will see what steps we can take,' he said at a press conference here.

Asked whether his government would stop the operations of ONGC in Assam, Gogoi did not elaborate but said 'we will intervene. Assam government has to take steps, some strong steps'.

The Chief Minister said the 'discriminatory' attitude of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation cannot be acceptable and it was 'very deplorable' that the public sector energy giant was denying the due share to Assam.

'How come you have different rates for the same crude oil produced in Gujarat and Assam. I have conveyed this to the Prime Minister also,' he said.

In a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gogoi on Wednesday  said a special category state like Assam cannot afford such a huge loss of revenue and oil producing states like Assam or Gujarat should not be denied the benefit of their natural resources and made to compensate for the under recoveries of the Central Oil Marketing Companies.

'You will be aware that rights over natural resources of the state, particularly oil and natural gas, have always been a sensitive issue in Assam. There has been a long simmering resentment in the state that Assam has not been getting its due share of benefits from its natural resources,' he said.
The Chief Minister said following a petition filed by the Gujarat government, the Gujarat High Court recently held that the royalty shall be payable to the state on the market price of crude oil and not on post-discount price.

'Even the Supreme Court has in its interim order directed the ONGC to pay crude oil royalty to Gujarat on pre-discounted crude price beginning from 1 February, 2014,' he said adding Assam has been denied this right.
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