OIL gas pipeline ( Image for representational purpose only)

The Nagaland government and the Lotha Hoho, the apex body of Lotha Nagas, have signed an MoU to amend the Nagaland Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulations and Rules, 2012 with certain terms and conditions.

The main oil belt of Nagaland is situated in the Lotha Naga areas.

With the signing of the MoU on November 20, both the state government and the Hoho are likely to resolve the contentious oil deal explorations, according to reports.

The state Assembly enacted the Nagaland Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulations and Rules, 2012.

However, around three years after it was enacted the Kohima bench of the Gauhati High Court issued a stay order against permit given to Metropolitan Oil and Gas Private Limited (MOGPL) following a PIL filed by the Lotha Hoho.

The PIL raised issues involving “controversial” MOGPL which bagged the lucrative oil zones in Wokha district. Other issues included the fixing of 8 per cent royalty in addition to other excise tax by the state government on the plea of sharing the revenue with non-oil bearing districts.

According to the Nagaland Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulations and Rules, 2012, the state government set up the Nagaland Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulations and Rules Board to monitor all activities related to oil and natural mining.

The Nagaland Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulations and Rules Board stipulated three committees – the first comprising state ministers, the second senior bureaucrats and the third junior government officers, advisers and others.

The High Court viewed that the source of power of the impugned permit in favour of MOGPL as “highly objectionable, both legally and constitutionally” It felt that the effect and operation of the said permit be kept abeyance till the case was decided.

After observing several inconsistencies in the processing of the permit for MOGPL, the court on October 18, 2015 stayed the impugned permit issued on February 28, 2014 till further orders.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com

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