Kohima: To safeguard the special
provisions granted to Nagaland under Article 371 (A) of the
Constitution from further dilution, the government today moved
a resolution in the state Assembly for framing fresh
modalities and rules on exploration of mineral wealth,
particularly petrol and natural gas.
Moving the resolution, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio
informed the House that since the Constitution provides
special provisions to safeguard the land and its resources in
Nagaland, it has become necessary for the state government to
regulate by laws the ownership and transfer of land and its
The government had constituted a nine-member cabinet
sub-committee on exploration and mining of petroleum and
natural gas in October 2009 in view of the Centre`s fresh
initiatives for recommencing exploration and production
activities in proven oil fields of Nagaland.
After examining various aspects, the sub-committee
observed that all the previous activities pertaining to the
exploration and production of crude oil by ONGC, there was no
provisions in those agreements to safeguard the state and its
people`s interests, he said.
The panel pointed out that although crude oil
production in the state came to a halt in 1994, the Centre,
under its new exploration license policy (NELP), demarcated
seven blocks for international bidding and handed over some of
them to the consortium of ONGC in 2006.
However, the entire process was done by the Centre
without consulting the Nagaland government, which was in
contravention to the provisions under the Article 371(A), the
sub-committee observed and recommended for adequate
Therefore, the state government took a decision to
completely suspend all exploration and development activities,
including seismic surveys in January 2009 for framing fresh
modalities, Rio informed the House.
The chief minister admitted that due to "oversight and
also unknowingly", the state has not been able to take full
advantage of the special provisions granted under Article
371(A) of the Constitution, and consequently the special
status was being eroded.
Rio said an Assembly sub-committee also yesterday
scrutinised the cabinet sub-committee`s recommendations and
unanimously approved them.
Article 371(A) stipulates that Nagaland`s land and its
resources belong to the communities, not to the state