Elections trigger OALP-1 confusion for Oil India

Vol 22, PW 11 (21 Mar 19) People & Policy

Oil India is facing the prospect of long delays in securing PELs for seven OALP-1 blocks won in Assam (5) and Arunachal Pradesh (2) following a wave of unrest and more recently, the announcement of national and state elections.

"This month (March) we were hoping to get the PELs," an Oil India source tells us. "But now it looks like we won’t get them before May after elections are over."

Violent protests in Arunachal state capital Itanagar in February over moves to grant permanent residency status to outsiders was bad enough. But an announcement that both state and national polls will be held in Arunachal Pradesh on April 11 has made the situation worse with local officials critical to the PEL process routinely called away for mandatory election training.

"These people are often away on election training programmes and can’t complete our work," adds our Oil India source. Still awaited is signature endorsement of OALP-1 acreage maps from local revenue circle and forestry officials without which Oil India can’t proceed.

"Unless the PELs are received we can’t start work," we hear. Similar problems are reported by Oil India from Dibrugarh in Assam where national elections will be held in three phases on April 11, April 18 and April 23.

"In Rajasthan (where Oil India won two OALP blocks)," says our source, "the same problem will be there." In Rajasthan voting takes place on April 17 and 24.