NNPGs leader in New Delhi. (File image)

The working committee of the seven Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) said exploration of oil and natural gas in Nagaland on the eve of the political solution to the Naga issue must be avoided.

“The time is not right for the state government to frame a policy on extracting petroleum resources,” the working committee said in a release on Sunday.

The release said for the working committee of the NNPGs, what matters is the long-term interest of the Naga people.

It added that the Agreed Position signed between the Government of India and the working committee of NNPGs has sufficient legal and constitutional provisions to safeguard the land, political and historical identity of the Nagas.

The committee said the government of the day must desist from gnawing away at the core issues of Indo-Naga settlement.

It asserted that all the natural resources belong to the people and will be utilised after the Government of India and the Nagas officially announce an acceptable and honourable political solution.

Appreciating the magnanimous role of the Nagaland government as a facilitator in the Indo-Naga political dialogue, the committee stressed that the focus must continue on facilitating the genuine political transformation, ending the long Indo-Naga conflict through a political solution.

The committee said although physical integration of Naga people and their ancestral land cannot happen at the moment, the principle of honourable and acceptable honourable solution will be applied to the Naga areas in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

It also said the Nagaland-Assam boundary will be settled through a neutral high-powered commission, derived from Indo-Naga political agreement.

According to the committee to explore or extracting petroleum products independently or in collaboration with any company at this juncture will not be in the interest of the Naga people.

“It will be a big hindrance and an impediment to the impending solution. The special status and privileges of Nagaland state, the identity of the Nagas, as a whole, will be compromised,” the committee said.

Appealing to the Naga people to be vigilant against oil prospectors who are nothing but insatiable, remorseless profiteers, the NNPGs said it is the responsibility of every sensible Naga leader to ensure that future generations do not suffer for the blunders committed today.

“This is the time to inject great hope and not politically motivated venom into the veins of our people. Nagas must preserve and protect people’s natural resources,” the release added.

Bhadra Gogoi

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