SIVASAGAR, Jan 9 � Crude oil and natural gas production by India�s premier oil exploration company Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has been hit in Sivasagar district following a 24-hour oil blockade by All Tai Ahom Students� Union (ATASU) on Monday.
There has been an overall impact with crude oil and natural gas production being hit as the entire ONGC operations in Assam are in the districts of Sivasagar and Jorhat, the two highest Ahom �populated districts in upper Assam.
The influential ATASU staged a 24-hour oil blockade from 5 am Monday seeking inclusion of the community in the Scheduled Tribe category in accordance with the Article 342 of the Constitution.
Student picketers during the blockade were seen preventing movement of vehicles belonging to the ONGC and other private companies. However, there have been no reports of any untoward incidents from any part of the district till filing of this report.
ATASU central committee adviser Ashwini Chetia told The Assam Tribune that the ST status is a long-pending demand of the Tai Ahom community. �How long the government will keep on giving assurances. Our demands are genuine and we want the Union Government to recognize our status and take concrete steps to redress our problems,� said Chetia.
Maintaining the same tune, Basanta Gogoi, ATASU central committee general secretary, said, �No doubt we don�t want violence but how long can we be patient when the government is not listening to us.� We will not keep quiet until our demands are met and will intensify our agitation in near future ,� said Gogoi.
Our Tinsukia Correspondent adds: The members of ATASU under the leadership of Pranjal Rajkonwar, president, central committee today resorted to a 24-hour oil blockade from 5 am today blocking the movement of oil to and from the Tinsukia Terminal of Indian Oil Corporation here and in other places of the State, in support of the demand for Schedule Tribe status for the Tai Ahom ethnic group. Rajkonwar in this connection threatened that the union would adopt more vigorous agitational programmes if the Government does not take the matter seriously. He further stated that both the governments, at the State and at the Centre, use to give assurances time to time, especially before the election, but both the governments are resorting to delaying tactics by lobbing the issue at each other. Rajkonwar added that from now onwards they would not tolerate the delaying tactics of the governments.