Local people ban oil exploration

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IMPHAL, May 17: People of Khaidem Awang Leikai, Imphal West have banned oil exploration carried out by private company Asian Oil Fields (AOF) under Oil India Limited (OIL) in their locality without giving any prior information.

The oil exploration work was going on since the past few days before it was stopped by the local people this afternoon.

Khaidem Golden Youth Club general secretary Ahongsangbam Shyamjai told media persons that AOF sent one of its officials and informed about the oil exploration work to one land owner casually.

Although the villagers heard that oil was being explored, they did not have any clear and no one knew about the extent of damages that may be done to environment.
The oil exploration work has been stopped by the villagers and the matter would be discussed in another meeting tomorrow, Shyamjai said.

On the other hand, AOF project manager Sumit Mahajan said that the ongoing exercise was about 2-D seismic data acquisition. The operation was launched at Jiribam about two months back and it would continue for around two years.

He said that AOF was carrying out the oil exploration exercise after signing a contract with Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry’s IOL. He said that their work was restricted to submission of reports to the Government of India.

To a query, Sumit Mahajan clarified that the oil exploration work carried out by the Netherlands based Jubilant Oil and Gas Pvt Ltd in Tamenglong, Churachandpur and Jiribam some years back was different from the current exploration.

As there was no previous data, nothing can be said with certainty but there is strong possibility of the presence of hydrocarbon fuels in Manipur as there are seven oil belts between Assam and Arakan, Sumit Mahajan said.

Informing that environmental impact assessment is also done by the company (AOF), the project manager claimed that their company has been given consent by the Government of India and the Government of Manipur to carry out the oil exploration exercise.

He maintained that the exercise was not carried out without consent of land owners and local people and there was no question of encroaching upon anybody’s land or damaging their properties.

As a team of media persons reached the spot, labourers of the company were found working in a paddy field and the villagers were seen watching them.

The media team came across drilling bore pile and blasting the ground using explosives.

Source: The Sangai Express

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