The Assam Congress staged a demonstration at Numaligarh Tiniali, 12 km from NRL, protesting against the move to privatise Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL).
“NRL is a symbol of Assamese pride and sentiment. The state government is trying to sell NRL, which we strongly oppose. We will not let NRL to go to any private sector, even if we have to give our blood for that,” said former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi at the protest site.
The demonstration was also attended by Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora, leader of the opposition in the Assembly Debabrata Saikia, former minister Rakibul Hussain and MPs Pradyut Bordoloi and Gaurav Gogoi, among others.
“By trying to sell NRL to some private players, the BJP government has trampled the dignity and self-respect of the Assamese people,” said Ripun Bora.
“It is also very unfortunate to see that the leadership of the AGP, which was formed after the historic Assam Movement, remains mum regarding the move of the government of which they are an ally,” added Bora.
Also read: Numaligarh protest over NRL privatisation
Nagaon MP Bordoloi said, “The move of the Narendra Modi-led government to sell NRL is an insult to the Assamese people.”
“We urge (CM) Sarbananda Sonowal to increase the share of the state government in NRL by purchasing the stake owned by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL),” said Bordoloi.
It may be mentioned that the BPCL has highest 61.65% share in NRL while Assam government has only 12.35 stake. So, if the BPCL is privatised, NRL will go into the hands of private player.
The Congress legislator from Golaghat, Ajanta Neog, said the party will demand a special session in the state Assembly to discuss the issue of the proposed privatisation.
The protesters also tried to take out a rally to NRL but they were prevented by the security personnel.
A delegation of the Numaligarh Refinery Employees’ Union (NREU), led by its general secretary Binod Gogoi and president Ripun Saikia, met the finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday.
The delegation also submitted a memorandum to minister Sarma regarding the proposed privatisation of NRL.
“Sarma assured us that he will take decisive action to save NRL and he immediately communicated with the union petroleum minister in front of us on this issue. We hope good news will come for NRL,” said Binod Gogoi.