Mokokchung, 20 September (MTNews): The Working Committee of the Naga National Political Groups (WC NNPGs) has stated that, as per the ‘Agreed Position’ signed between the Government of India (GoI) and the Working Committee (WC) on 17 November 2017, “fossil fuels in the Naga homeland are not meant for a 50/50 sharing arrangement with oil companies or states.”
According to the WC, the negotiated ‘Status Paper’ has made it ‘absolutely clear’ that natural resources, including fossil fuels, will be explored, extracted, and utilized for the benefit of the Naga people. Therefore, it has cautioned that oil and gas companies disrespecting the collective decision of the Nagas on natural resources will be held responsible for any steps taken by the Nagas.
Furthermore, it emphasized that the exploration, extraction, and utilization of natural resources must be considered only when genuine stakeholders deem it absolutely essential, with a full understanding of the generational benefits.
“Revenue money to be pocketed by a few or used to repay the state’s irresponsible and atrociously accumulated yearly deficits is not in the interest of the real stakeholders,” it added.
The WC NNPGs referred to a statement issued on 12 September 2023 by eight Naga employees of an Oil and Gas exploration company based in Duliajan, Assam, known as a Maharatna Company, alleging that these employees have “focused on the short-term benefits of oil exploration in Naga areas currently disputed by Assam.”
“Employees in any company can never speak beyond their profit margin, and therefore, the owner’s perspective is sorely absent. Oil and natural gas are, to the Naga people, a historical and political subject. The identity of the Nagas is involved,” it added.
The WC further reiterated that the GoI has understood the Indo-Naga conflict concerning land and its resources and asserted that this facet goes beyond “quick contractual money” and the creation of a few hundred jobs in the drilling infrastructure.
The WC NNPGs believe that the Indo-Naga political negotiations have addressed all pertinent matters and, therefore, hope that the GoI will, sooner rather than later, respect Naga political and historical rights, their identity, and aspirations, thereby ushering in enduring peace and coexistence.
“An Indo-Naga political settlement is the only long-term solution to all political, social, and economic problems,” it concluded.