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Dutch firm allays fears of villagers

Silchar, Nov. 23: The asset manager of Dutch oil company Jubilant Oil and Gas Company Limited recently held a public meeting with 14 village council members from the Hmar and Rongmei tribes to assure them that the company’s exploration drive would not pose any danger to them.

Asset manager Tejinder Pal Singh met the council members at Sibpurikhal, 50km from Jiribam town, near the border of Cachar district.

The Netherlands-based firm had bagged the contract to drill for oil and natural gas in two blocks of Manipur — namely in Churachandpur, Tamenglong and Imphal East districts — from the Union petroleum ministry in 2009.

However, there was opposition from the Hmar Inpui, the apex body of the Hmar community, and a few environmental NGOs. Consequently, there was no headway in the face of such opposition.

Village headmen attended and senior officials of the Churachandpur district administration attended the meeting, which was held under tight security.

Singh allayed all the fears of the locals about any adverse fallout from this oil and gas exploration drive there. He made it clear that there are no fears either of any adverse environment impact from the drilling or any seismic upheaval from the exploration activity in all the three districts.

Churachandpur deputy commissioner J. Lazarus and Tipaimukh legislator Chaltonlien Amo were present at the meeting.

Singh said his company was keen to start drilling as early as possible. Twelve villages inhabited by Hmars lie on the drilling site in Churachandpur and Imphal East districts. Anyone losing their land will be resettled by the state government.