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Khekiho, Chang raise issues
Published on 28 Aug. 2010 12:13 AM IST
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Drawing the attention of the union petroleum and environment ministries to the oil spillage in Champang under Wokha district causing devastating damages to the flora and fauna of the area, Rajya Sabha MP form Nagaland Khekiho Zhimomi Friday urged the two ministries to depute a Fast Track Task Team to the area to assess and recommend all necessary remedial measures including stoppage of the oil spill and determination of compensation for the land owners and poor farmers.
Raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha, Khekiho said a serious environmental catastrophe was starting in Champang where the oil fields were opened by the ONGC in the year 1981 and operated till 1994. He said the oil spill might heat up into a major fire accident. He also informed that the estimated yield of the well was about 110 million barrels, which was equivalent to about Rs 55000 crore.
Stating that the land owners’ union of Champang had taken up the issue with the ONGC on several occasions but with no relief, Khekiho said the union government and the ONGC were both morally and legally liable to meet the environmental challenge.
He requested the union minister of petroleum and natural gas and minister of environment and forests to depute a Fast Track Task Team to the Champang area to take stock of the situation.
Khekiho also spoke about an urgent and imperative need to honour in letter and spirit, the provisions enshrined in the Article 371-A of the Constitution giving special protection to State of Nagaland in regard to ownership and transfer of land and its resources and which he said was often infringed by the government of India. He described as “blatant violation of Article 371-A” the awarding of several oil blocks to a consortium of ONGC under the Government of India’s New Exploration License policy of 2002. In this regard, Khekiho urged the central government to respect the provision of Article 371-A in letter and spirit.
Meanwhile, lone Lok Sabha MP from Nagaland, C. M. Chang raised the issue of higher air fare for passengers and also cargoes in the northeast during the current parliament session.
According to a statement received here, the issue of air fare was raised considering that the fact that communication link between the northeastern region and the rest of the country remained a hindrance and deterrent for the economic development of the region. The inconsistent and erratic timings of the railway services also added to the woes of the people of the region.
The MP in a written complaint in the Lower House, said that fare structure for the northeastern region, as compared to the other sectors of the country, was higher making it inaccessible to the general public.
Considering the backwardness of the region in general and Nagaland in particular where only the public sector aviation company, Air India operates, the MP urged the government of India to review its policy and restructure the fares to suit the convenience of the general public. Referring to sources, the statement said that the civil aviation minister, Praful Patel has taken cognizance of the matter and a review was expected in due course of time. Chang also assured that he would pursue the matter in all earnest and ensure maximum benefit to the people of the region.

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