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Mahanta asks Centre to put off oilfield auction

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 4 - Former Chief Minister and senior AGP leader PK Mahanta has asked the Central Government reconsider its decision to go for auction of 12 small oilfields in the State.

He also called upon the Centre to formulate a clear policy with regard to rehabilitation and settlement of Hindus and other minorities from Bangladesh and Pakistan so that Assam does not have to bear the burden all alone of the refugees fleeing religious persecution in their own countries.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mahanta said he has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighting these issues as well as some other matters.

�Globally when oil prices are falling, it is bad business to sell our own oil reserves to multinationals and others as at this time we will not get the right price for our natural resources. If at all the Government of India is keen on getting rid of these oilfields at whatever price they get, they should be handed over to the Assam Government which has enough expertise and infrastructure to extract oil from these wells,� he said.

The Union Government should reconsider the decision of auctioning these oilfields, the former Chief Minister said, adding, at a time when state-run oil companies like ONGC and OIL have been bidding for oilfields in foreign countries, there is no reason why they cannot be asked to exploit the 12 fields in Assam.

Mahanta also lambasted the government regarding the AIIMS issue and said that he has also included the matter in his letter to the Prime Minister.

�We have confirmed report that the Central team had approved Raha for setting up AIIMS in Assam and this was also keeping in mind the lack of such infrastructure in central Assam, but it seems the recommendations of the Central team have been compromised for some reasons which need not be elaborated here and are well known to all. The freedom fighters, youth and politicians cutting across party lines from central Assam are very much disappointed by this decision of the government to set up the same in Guwahati (sic) which already has dozens of medical institutes...,� he said.

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