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Resolution on land resource
Correspondent KOHIMA, JUL 24 (NPN):
Published on 25 Jul. 2010 12:41 AM IST
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Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today moved the Nagaland ownership and transfer of land and its resources in respect of Minerals including Petroleum and Natural Gas Resolution, 2010 which is scheduled to be taken up for consideration on Monday.
The proposed resolution stated “that no Act of Parliament in respect of ownership and transfer of land and its resources which includes minerals, petroleum and natural gas etc shall apply to the State of Nagaland” and that “the state of Nagaland shall make appropriate modalities to apply and enforce in the state of Nagaland. That the ownership of land and its resources lies with the Naga people and therefore, the State of Nagaland representing the people shall have the jurisdiction in regulation and development over minerals including petroleum and natural gas in terms of usage and shall have the control on the matter of exploration and development in the State, which will include acquisition of mineral bearing areas, fixation of land compensation rates, landowner’s share in the benefits or royalty arising out of extraction of the minerals.” Fresh modalities will be framed by the state on petroleum and natural gas exploration and development.
The resolution was moved as the constitution of India makes special provision for the state of Nagaland with regard to the ownership and transfer of land and its resources, in relation to the applicability of the Act of Parliament. The resolution had become necessary for the state to regulate by Law, the ownership and transfer of land and its resources.
In his statement before moving the resolution, Rio said that the state government had constituted a 9-member State cabinet Sub-Committee on Exploration and Mining of Petroleum and Natural Gas in the state earlier on 12 December, 2009 to undertake a detailed examination on the same. The committee in its report, highlighted a brief background of petroleum development activities in the state, status of exploration and development in the petroleum sector and other related issues. The committee in its report recommended that corrective measures has to be adopted with regards to the ownership and transfer of land and its resources as provided under article 371(A) of the constitution of India.
The committee report was examined and deliberated at length by the Committee to scrutinize Parliamentary Laws for Application to Nagaland which met Friday in the committee room of the state assembly secretariat and unanimously approved the recommendation of the cabinet sub-committee.
Giving the detailed history of Petroleum exploration activities in the state, Rio said that Petroleum exploration started in the state during 1971 by the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) and oil was struck in 1973. The actual exploration however was started by ONGC since 1963 without Petroleum Exploration License (PEL).
Nagaland government issued PEL on November 20, 1973 and production commenced from March 3, 1981 without Petroleum Mining License (PML) and the state cabinet suspended ONGC’s operation in 1981. Again, in 1991 ONGC was granted working permission with a stipulation that ONGC will abide by whatever agreement the state government may arrive at with the Government of India in this regard even with retrospective effect but the ONGC was stop from further extraction by the state government again in 1994.
Under the government of India’s New Exploration License Policy (NELP) of 2002, seven Oil Blocks in Nagaland were demarcated for International bidding and some blocks awarded to a consortium of ONGC in 2006. The entire process under the NELP was done without consultation with the government of Nagaland in contravention to article 371(A) of the constitution . In this regard, the state government decided to completely suspend all exploration and development activities including seismic survey covering all oil blocks in January last year for framing fresh modalities.
Rio also said that due to oversight and unknowingly, the state have not been able to take advantage of special provision granted to the state under article 371(A) of the constitution of India which is being eroded. Therefore it is now necessary for the state to assert itself and take advantage of the special provisions.

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