ibnlive » Business

Dec 21, 2006 at 08:04pm IST

OIL suspends Brahmaputra basin survey

New Delhi: Oil India Limited (OIL), after a meeting with All Assam Students Union (AASU), has put on hold its proposed seismic survey of the Brahmaputra basin.

Decision to stop the survey, till experts give their opinion on its effects on the river's eco-system, was taken at a meeting in Guwahati on Wednesday night between OIL Chairman M R Pasricha and leaders of AASU.

"At last night's meeting, a resolution was passed that the proposed sesmic survey would be held only after scientific experts give their opinion on it," said OIL spokesman Phanin Dev Choudhury, as quoted by PTI.

PUT ON HOLD: OIL stops the survey till experts give their opinion on its effects on the river's eco-system.

"Two other resolutions were adopted on the Assam gas cracker project and starting a petroleum institute for training local youths for employment in the gas cracker project," Choudhury said.

PTI also quoted AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya as saying "OIL agreed to keep its Rs 100-crore survey in abeyance till experts gave their opinion as it was a sensitive issue for the people of Assam with the Brahmaputra being their lifeline".

"After we apprised (OIL) of the possible negative impact of the survey, Pasricha assured us that no step would be taken against the interests of the state," he said.

AASU is holding consultations on the impact of the survey with experts in geology, geography and life sciences from the IIT here and the Gauhati and Dibrugarh Universities.

Pasricha conceded AASU's demand that the oil company should not create any hurdle in the setting up of the gas cracker project with a annual Central subsidy of Rs 920 crore.

Ecological, social and students groups have criticised the proposed seismic survey while the banned ULFA has warned it would launch a "people's resistance" to the move.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to lay the foundation stone for the long-delayed Assam gas cracker project by February at Lekhapani in upper Assam's Dibrugarh district.

The project was part of the Assam Accord signed in 1984 at the end of the six-year-long movement against illegal infiltrators in Assam.