Guwahati, July 23: Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today accused the BJP-led government in the state of being “a mute supporter” of the “anti-Assam decisions” taken by the Centre, including auctioning of oil fields and non-release of funds for flood control.
“They (the state government) are saying that the decision to auction oil fields was taken during the Congress government’s rule. But our (Congress) government in the state opposed it and so the process to auction oil fields in the state was postponed. But they are keeping silent and not opposing even their own government at the Centre over auctioning of oil fields,” Gogoi said at the party’s state headquarters here.
His statement comes a day after industries minister Chandra Mohan Patowary told the Assembly that auctioning of oil fields started in 1998 under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (Nelp) formulated in 1992 under the Congress rule and 23 oil fields in Assam were auctioned between 1998 and 2012.
The leader of the Congress Legislature Party, Debabrata Saikia, had recently said Nelp was formulated in 1998-99 but oil fields in Assam were not auctioned keeping in mind the sensitivity of the issue.
There were widespread protests against the decision to hand over oil fields during the Assam Agitation (1979-1985).
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s announcement of the Centre’s decision to auction 12 small and marginalised oil fields in Assam has come under scathing criticism by many organisations.
The issue has been politicised as the Congress and other Opposition parties slammed the BJP government both at the Centre and the state. The BJP’s ally, AGP, too is against the decision.
Criticising the Centre for neglecting the problems of flood and erosion in Assam, Gogoi said the BJP government in the state had failed to impress upon the Centre to release Rs 1,200 crore pending with the latter for flood relief.
“They (the Centre) are spending thousands of crores for Ganga rejuvenation, but they are not bothered about the flood and erosion problem caused by the Brahmaputra in Assam. The state government does not have the guts to demand funds from the Centre to tackle floods and erosion in our state,” Gogoi said.
On allegations that the land allotted by his erstwhile Congress government for AIIMS at Changsari was a waterbody, Gogoi said the state government had only offered the plot and the decision to select it was taken by the Centre after inspection. “They (Centre) could change the plot if it was not proper,” he said.