AGARTALA, April 29 - The ONGC hopes to kickstart an exploration drive at the Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary in South Tripura district shortly, as the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Central Wildlife Board (CWB) have cleared the long-pending proposal of the oil major.
The Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary, located around 65 km from the state capital, has immense potential as far as natural gas reserves are concerned but exploration is not allowed in such a protected area leading to a stalemate for a long time.
Keeping in mind its prospects, the ONGC had taken up the issue with the Ministry and other statutory bodies to get clearance for undertaking exploration drive at Trishna, one of the best managed bison sanctuaries in the country.
After a hectic process, the Ministry, CWB and Eco Sensitivity Board cleared the proposal to start drilling at the sanctuary, said ONGC Tripura Asset Manager GK Singha Roy.
�We sought permission for drilling in nine locations but got approval for six locations inside the wildlife sanctuary. It is indeed good to get clearance for exploration there,� he said.
Singha Roy further said the ONGC needs another permission from the Supreme Court and this is expected to get cleared by the state government shortly. �Once all permissions are received, it will take one and a half years to explore gas in the six locations. It will cost around Rs 150 crore,� he said.
Currently, Tripura produces 5 MMSCMD of gas, which is more than what the ONGC has planned for the 2018-19 financial year. �We are happy that Tripura can produce 5 MMSCMD of natural gas and it has been possible because of well-coordinated efforts by all,� he said.
Singha Roy said the ONGC was committed to push industry in Tripura and has made attempts to break the jinx. �We have spent Rs 4,000 crore at Khubal and adjacent areas to set up a fertilizer factory but could not get good gas reserve, prompting ONGC to abandon the ambitious project,� he added.