OIL officials seek early issuance of forest clearance for 7 identified blocks

ITANAGAR, Sep 23: The Oil India Ltd (OIL) has requested the state government for early issuance of forest clearance for the seven “blocks of interest” identified in the eastern part of Arunachal, in order for it to be able to obtain the environment clearance from the Centre to begin survey and exploration.
This was conveyed to Chief Minister Pema Khandu by a team of OIL officials, led by its Resident Chief Executive Pranjit Deka and Chief General Manager (FB) Indrajit Baruah, that called on the CM at his office here on Monday.
Explaining the activities of the petroleum company in Arunachal, including its plans, proposals, and issues which require the state government’s intervention, the officials said the OIL has identified seven blocks of interest, most of them in areas in eastern Arunachal which share boundaries with Assam.
As parts of a few of the blocks fall in reserved forests or wildlife sanctuaries, exploration in these parts is yet to start for want of requisite clearance. While the OIL’s petroleum exploration licence (PEL) for the Namchik and the Jairampur extension blocks are still valid, the PEL for the Deomali block is being processed by the union petroleum & natural gas ministry.
The availability of fossil fuel in the region would help the company enhance its production, which would subsequently increase the revenue generating capacity of the state government, they said.
The officials said the OIL paid about Rs 5 crore to the state government as royalty in the last financial year. The royalty would increase with the increase in production levels, they said.
Presenting the status of the proposed pipeline project from Kumchai (Kharsang) in Arunachal to the OIL’s Duliajan FGS in Assam, the officials said a detailed project report will be submitted to the state government by the second week of October.
The proposed pipeline would cover a distance of 60 kms, of which 18.85 kms will be within Arunachal’s territory.
The chief minister on his part assured the OIL officials of all support to their endeavours in the state. He said his office “is always open to any coordination and support required by the OIL,” and directed the department concerned to fast-track the issuance of forest clearance, wherever needed.
Khandu said his government is according top priority to investment, employment, and revenue generation, in which companies like the OIL could become important partners.
“Geology and mining is a very important sector that has not drawn much attention of the government in the past. But today we are aware of its huge potential, and we are opening up in a big way for exploring and tapping it for a better future for our people,” Khandu said.
On being informed that the OIL has about 20 officials from Arunachal in its hierarchy, besides several skilled and trained technicians, the CM expressed hope that with the expansion of its activities in the state, the OIL would offer more and better employment opportunities to the youths of the state. (CMO)