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Allowing Vedanta to explore natural resources in Tripura will weaken ONGC: CPI(M)

A statement issued by CPI(M) protested the decision to allow private companies, the exploration rights in Tripura saying the move would weaken public sector undertakings like ONGC. The communist party appealed people to protest the decision.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
January 4, 2019 6:33:28 pm
NCLAT allows Vedanta to make upfront payment of Rs 5,320 crore for Electrosteel BJP said allowing Vedanta Limited to explore in the state would help in higher job creation and ushering development.

Shortly after the central government allowed ‘Vedanta Limited’, a private sector oil exploration company to start exploring natural resources in Tripura along with 54 other companies in different parts of the country, the CPI(M) Friday opposed the move saying it is a “ploy” to weaken public sector exploration agencies like ONGC.

A statement issued by CPI(M) protested the decision to allow private companies, the exploration rights in Tripura saying the move would weaken public sector undertaking ONGC. The communist party appealed people to protest the decision.

“ONGC is a Navaratna which has been exploring oil and natural gas in Tripura for last five decades. They have extracted large amount of gas and have played an important role in generating electricity and distribution of LPG in households of the state. Many NE states and even Bangladesh have benefitted from power generated in Tripura”, the CPI (M) statement reads.

However, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said allowing Vedanta Limited to explore in the state would help in higher job creation and ushering development. A healthy competition between ONGC and private company will help in accelerating extraction and use of natural resources, BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said in the statement.

He also claimed CPI(M) is trying to mislead people by confusing them on private companies. “We are not against any private company’s activities in Tripura”, Bhattacharya said.

In December last year, a letter from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to Tripura Chief Secretary LK Gupta said the Government of India signed 55 revenue sharing contracts with companies who were awarded Petroleum Exploration blocks under the first round of Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) and Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) for exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas.

“One exploration block has been awarded to Vedanta Limited for exploration and production in the state of Tripura. Vedanta Limited is required to apply to the state government for grant of Petroleum Exploration Licenses (PELs)”, the letter informed.

ONGC started drilling in Tripura way back in 1962. The apex nationalized oil and gas exploration agendcy planned to set up Rs. 5,000 crore gas-based Urea fertilizer plant in Khubal area of North Tripura district. An agreement was signed with Rajasthan-based Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. But the project didn’t finally fly due to shortage of gas reserves.

Later in 2012, ONGC set up a joint venture with Government of Tripura – ONGC Tripura Power Company and launched a 726.6 MW thermal power project at Palatana in Gomati district, 55 km from here.

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