Himanta Biswa

Guwahati, June 26, 2019:

Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for releasing the oil royalty arrears due to Assam.

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At the same time, the Finance Minister took a jibe at the Congress leader and former Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh.

A tweet posted from Himanta Biswa Sarma’s official Twitter, read: “Thanks to Hon PM FM Petro Min for releasing ₹773 cr, last tranche of oil royalty arrears due to Assam. Now we’ve received entire arrears of ₹6306 cr over last 3 FY which was denied by then PM Dr Manmohan Singh.”

It may be mentioned that the Assam government incurred loss of crude oil royalty of approximately Rs 7,755.88 crore from April 2008 to June 2016. The revenue loss had allegedly happened as the oil producing companies paid the royalty to the oil-producing States like Assam and Gujarat at discounted prices.

But in July 2016, the Government of India ordered both the ONGC and the OIL to pay Assam royalty at the pre-discounted rates from February 2014.

According to official sources, the oil-producing companies have already paid Rs 4,834.42 crore in four installments. In August 2016, OIL and ONGC paid the first installment of Rs 1449.88 crore. The subsequent installments of Rs 945.90 crore; Rs 670 crore; Rs 1,311.78 crore; and Rs 456.86 crore were released by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

It may be mentioned that Assam is considered the ‘mother’ of Indian petroleum industry. In India, petroleum was first discovered in Assam. It was Digboi in Assam where the first Oil Refinery in Asia came up.

Till the 1960s, Assam was the only oil producing state in India. Gradually India started to extract oil from many other oilfields including the offshore ones.

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