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Centre to support State on oil royalty issue

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, June 24 - The Central Government will support Assam�s stand in the legal procedure regarding the oil royalty issue.

�In our meeting today, we resolved to support Assam and to proceed in the matter legally. The Central Government will definitely help Assam and we will ask the oil companies to pay after the legal procedure concludes,� Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge) Dharmendra Pradhan said here today.

Pradhan was addressing a press conference jointly with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal after a meeting attended by officials of his ministry, the State Government and oil sector PSUs.

He said that Rs 1,450 crore is due to Assam from Oil India and ONGC from 2014, after Supreme Court gave an interim relief to Gujarat.

Pradhan said that although the Supreme Court is yet to decide on the oil royalty since 2008, it has asked the oil firms to pay the royalty from 2014 till date to Gujarat.

The Minister said the

Centre has already asked the oil firms to pay the amount after the legal procedure is completed.

He criticized the former UPA regime in Centre and the previous Congress government in Assam on the issue. He said that despite Manmohan Singh being elected to the Rajya Sabha from Assam, the State remained deprived of its dues and added that former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had filed a petition and then �just wasted two years�.

It is noteworthy that the State Government has filed a petition in the Gauhati High Court in 2014 regarding the royalty issue. The Tarun Gogoi-led Government had claimed that following the change in the royalty regime in 2008, the State has suffered a cumulative loss of revenue of more than Rs 10,000 crore.

Asked about the Rs 10,000-crore figure, Pradhan said that final amount will be subject to the decision of the court.

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