Small E&P operators feel let down by Pradhan

Vol 19, PW 20 (16 Jun 16) People & Policy

Small E&P operators feel let down by oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, complaining he's more interested in selfies with contractors than changing anything.

As reported in our last issue Pradhan organised a meeting at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi on May 27 promising action to resolve the grievances of operators. Among the problems raised were delayed defence and environmental clearances, PSC extension quarrels, confusion over the Minimum Work Programme, Service Tax problems, and the relinquishment policy.

What has happened since that meeting and the following photo-op? Not a lot, is the short answer. "I haven't heard a single word either from the ministry or the DGH since then!" complains a Gujarat-based operator.

Another senior source at a small E&P operator says he attended the meeting with great expectations but has since lost all hope anything will come of it. "What happened to our problems? Where are the solutions?" he complains.

At the meeting former additional secretary UP Singh noted down the complaints and repeated them to make sure none were missed. But on May 19 Singh was unceremoniously moved out of the oil ministry and transferred to the ministry of water resources.

Don't expect anyone to follow up on the complaints he diligently noted. "Solutions to these problems are needed fast," adds another operator.

"Is Pradhan taking this seriously or is he even taking any notice?"