Sivasagar, March 19: Work was stalled at all ONGC sites in Sivasagar district for more than eight hours today, thanks to blockades by the Ahom Jatiya Gana Mancha.
The blockade began at 5am and was temporarily called off at 1pm.
Several vehicles were damaged in today’s protests, which were organised because of ONGC’s failure to keep its promise to build a 300-bed hospital in the district.
Mahendra Dihingia, president of the Ahom Jatiya Gana Mancha, said the Navratna company had promised to build a hospital in 2011 and had released Rs 100 crore for the same.
“However, even after two years, nothing has come of this. As a result, we have resorted to a blockade at all ONGC sites like Lakwa, Nazira, Geleky and Sivasagar. The blockade was lifted temporarily after officials assured us that they would clarify their stand tomorrow at the ONGC Assam Asset headquarters in Nazira.” Dihingia said.
On March 11, memorandums had been submitted at the deputy commissioner’s office and at the ONGC headquarters, Dihingia said. ONGC did not reply to the memorandum.
The administration said two sites had been shown to ONGC, the first one was at Poloxoni, near Pragati Hospital. The second one was near Rudrasagar Medical Hospital.
Prasanta Phukan, general secretary of the Tai Yuba Chatra Parishad central committee, said the students’ body was supporting the blockade because the hospital was a long-standing demand of the local people.
“ONGC already has a hospital in Sivasagar, where company officials are mostly treated. It does not benefit the common man in any way. The 300-bed hospital can be built anywhere in the district,” he said.
Phukan said political interference had stalled construction of the hospital.
“We have come to know that ONGC had asked the administration to find a site for the hospital. This was done but owing to alleged interference by politicians who wanted it to be built in their respective constituencies, work was stopped,” he said.
Police said seven activists had been rounded up at Lakwa for burning tyres.
and a few more had been picked up at Sivasagar for allegedly breaking the windows of a bus at ONGC colony.
No ONGC official could be contacted.