DULIAJAN, Sept 25 - One of India�s modern day wonders is that the bustling town of Duliajan is not a town as defined by the Town and Country Planning regulations. Despite having met all the requirements of being a civil town, Duliajan is under the administrative control of some Block Development Officer and a Circle Officer.
If this is bad enough and a huge insult to the residents of Duliajan, the utterly poor road network in and around Duliajan town is another insult the citizens have to live with, day in and day out.
As a major industry among several others in the vicinity, people here mostly look towards Oil India Limited (OIL) for the upkeep and maintenance of roads and drainage systems in Duliajan. And as is the norm, the OIL management was grilled once again on Saturday by the Duliajan Press on what needs to be done to improve the roads, drainage and sewerage cleaning within Duliajan. The OIL CMD, Utpal Borah said that the bad roads are chiefly due to the PWD, as the department has failed to execute road construction and repair works, though OIL has paid the full cost of the works in advance.
A major road through Duliajan is the Tipling to Station road, a distance of about four kilometres. This section was to be developed to a four-laned facility at a cost of Rs 24 crore. More than five years have passed by since the work orders were issued by the Dibrugarh PWD Roads Division, but the work remains less than half complete. The PWD and its contractors have come in for severe criticism for their horrible pace of work. But do they care? The OIL CMD was urged by the media to take up the matter at the highest levels, and Borah has agreed to do so. All now await some action on the field.
It is gathered that elsewhere in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts too, the PWD and its contractors have a similar dubious record of bad workmanship on roads built with OIL money. The PWD, which is anyway better known for its corruption and laggardness, just ignores public complaints. Of late, it has been noticed that even complaints before the Dibrugarh and Tinsukia Deputy Commissioners fail to elicit the desired response.
Meanwhile, the OIL CMD has told newsmen here on Saturday evening that his company is looking forward to renewed oil exploration activity in the �Upper Assam Basin� (read: Tinsukia district) and in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The mining lease to operate in Arunachal Pradesh lapsed 13 years ago, and is now being processed for renewal. Once this is done, OIL is preparing to drill more than a dozen oilwells in the Kumchai area. This area is said to be having good potential for both crude oil and rich gas.
It may be mentioned here that the cost of production of a barrel of crude oil by OIL is US 13 dollars. It sells the crude at international prices to the refiners, which is about US $65 a barrel for the Indian basket of crude oil. No wonder producing oil is so lucrative. Unconfirmed internet based information is that the Middle East countries produce oil at about US $ 5 a barrel. Of course the selling prices are in multiples of this.