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Panel on oil submits report

Kohima, Sept. 12: The cabinet sub-committee, set up by the Nagaland government on December 5, 2009, to “regulate” petroleum and natural gas in the state, submitted its final draft to the government today.

The final draft of the “regulation” was handed over to chief minister Neiphiu Rio at his office by the chairman of the cabinet sub-committee, minister for planning and co-ordination, evaluation, veterinary and animal husbandry and parliamentary affairs, T.R. Zeliang.

The cabinet sub-committee was set up to study the provisions and privileges conferred to the state Article 371A of the Constitution and to hold consultation with NGOs for evolving a mutually beneficial system of regulation in the extraction of petroleum and natural gas deposits in the state.

The sub-committee held consultative meetings with the Naga Hoho, Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation, Naga Students’ Federation and other indigenous hohos before preparing the final draft.

The draft, if passed by the cabinet tomorrow, would be tabled in the Legislative Assembly during its 12th session on September 21 and 22.

This regulation on petroleum and natural gas, when passed by the Assembly, would become a model for all other natural resources based on Article 371A, (1)-(a)-(IV).

According to the Article 371A, land and its resources belong to the people.

Oil companies had suspended their activities in the state in the nineties because of militancy. The state government wanted to resume oil exploration in the state but there has been problem with the landowners over royalty issue.