| A locked ONGC installation at Sivasagar on Monday. Picture by Eastern Projections |
Dibrugarh, Dec. 21: The breakdown in talks between the All Assam Students’ Union and the ONGC authorities last night over the oil major’s reported move to bifurcate its Assam Asset today prompted AASU to launch a 96-hour blockade at all ONGC installations in Sivasagar.
The meeting that lasted for nearly three hours was held at the company’s executive director’s office in Nazira.
Though production has not been affected till now, ONGC sources said the activists of the students’ union had started denying the workers entry since 6am today, laying siege to its installations and disrupting movement of machines.
Besides seeking a clarification on the company’s stand on privatisation of its Assam Asset, the students’ union had earlier demanded proper and scientific management and maintenance of Sivasagar and Nazira towns by the company.
In Guwahati, the Northeast Region Oil Workers Co-ordination Committee today addressed the media, opposing the move that, it alleged, was a precursor to privatisation of the Assam Asset.
The 10-member AASU delegation was led by AASU advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharyya, its general secretary Tapan Kumar Gogoi, the president of the Sivasagar district unit of AASU, Pronob Chetia and the secretary of the Sivasagar district unit of AASU, Manik Gogoi.
The company delegation was headed by its director (onshore) Ajit Kumar Hazarika and executive director P.V. Rao.
“Even after hours of discussions, the meeting failed to reach any breakthrough because of the arrogant attitude of some of the senior officials of the company. We were left with no other option but to go ahead with the blockade programme as per schedule,” Manik Gogoi said over phone today.
Work was affected in the fields of Nazira, Lakwa, Gaurisagar, Geleki and Rudrasagar as AASU activists along with their supporters prevented ONGC men to continue operations. Police picked up 28 picketers from Nazira and Geleki, the superintendent of police, Sivasagar, Akhilesh Singh, said over phone.
“The Central Industrial Security Force is ensuring that there is no disruption of work in the fields while the police are maintaining a strict vigil. We are fully prepared to maintain proper law and order in the district,” Singh added.
“The company has already made it clear that there is no such move to privatise the company. Petroleum minister Murli Deora, too, had clarified this point in Rajya Sabha recently. The blockade, therefore, is totally unjustified,” the deputy general manager, (public relations) of the company, Dilip Kumar Das, said over phone.
AASU said it would intensify its agitation against the company in the days to come.
The North-Eastern Region Oil Workers’ Co-ordination Committee, a united forum of registered oil sector trade unions of the region, today submitted a memorandum to Deora opposing the ONGC’s alleged move to hive off its Assam Asset into a wholly-owned subsidiary.