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Protests against drilling

- Students’ union claims that company is blacklisted

Kohima, July 22: The first protest against Nagaland government’s initiative to resume oil operations in the state after 20 years has come from the Kyong Students’ Union based in Wokha.

Braving opposition from some organisations, chief minister T.R. Zeliang yesterday launched the resumption of oil drilling at Changpang village under Bhandari subdivision in Wokha district.

According to some organisations, oil exploration without proper consultation with landowners will infringe on Article 371 (A) of the Constitution which states that “land and its resources belong to the people”.

Zeliang said some people are insisting that the entire commission should go to landowners which is totally unbecoming and unreasonable.

The state government has issued a licence to the Metropolitan Oil and Gas Pvt Ltd (MOGPL) to drill in the Changpang area but the students’ union claimed that the company was blacklisted.

A statement of the students’ union said that MOGPL was incorporated as a private company only on September 14, 2012, which is not listed in any stock exchange and has no record of experience in oil business anywhere in the world.

The union condemned home minister Y. Patton for terming its agitation illogical. It also sought an answer from the Nagaland government for stopping and manhandling its “innocent volunteers” at Baghty and Bhandari yesterday.

The union asked the state government what particular section of the Constitution allows them to harass students who were going to Chanpang to stage a protest through democratic means.

They also asked Patton to explain who is that “someone” who, he said, was misguiding the students. The union asserted that it would stick to the resolution adopted at its presidential council meeting at its office on July 11.

“The KSU, the apex students union of its community, will not accept any invitation or meeting with the government,” it stated. The union in pursuance of its commitment to serve the welfare of the general public has convened a consultative meeting at Don Bosco School Youth Resource Centre at Wokha town.