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LS MP Tokheho Yepthomi links delay in Naga peace talks to oil exploration in Nagaland

First Published: 5th January, 2024 15:45 IST

Yepthomi said that very soon 64% of India’s oil production will come from the Northeast states, and Nagaland will not be a part of it. He added that the ongoing

Lok Sabha MP from Nagaland Tokheho Yepthomi has said that many people in Delhi intend to delay solution to the Naga political issue as long as possible to make arrangements for extraction of oil along the Assam-Nagaland border.

In a statement, Yepthomi said that very soon 64% of India’s oil production will come from the Northeast states, of which Nagaland will not be a part. He added that the ongoing Indo-Naga talks have halted oil exploration in Nagaland.

The Nagaland MP said the oil refineries have brought revenues amounting to Rs 18,000 crore for Assam over the last 10 years.

“Whilst our neighbours make economic progress at a blistering pace, we Nagas have stifled development on the pretext of Article 371-A and the political negotiations,” he said.

“Whatever justification we give for the inability and incapacity to keep pace with development and economic growth with the rest of the country and world is because of the unresolved political issue and the use of money power in all walks of life,” he said.

Yepthomi said of the 35 oil fields along Nagaland-Assam border, seven – Champang, Hozukhe, Nikihe, Pishikhu, Tokishe, Khoponala and Toshezu – are in Nagaland.

“Citing Article 371 (A) and the Naga political negotiations, none of the aforementioned oil fields are operational,” he said.

Yepthomi also said the Nagaland government should ascertain the amount of oil deposit in Nagaland before finalising the agreement for sharing of oil royalty with Assam. He said more than 60% of Nagaland’s population is under the age of 25, meaning they are all younger than the Naga political negotiations.

“It is time for Nagas to decide for economic independence or to continue and keep negotiating for political sovereignty,” Yepthomi stressed.

Also stating that Nagaland has the highest percentage of population of unemployed youth in the country, Yepthomi said the stranglehold of businesses in the state by outsiders through the guise of ‘power of attorney’ has become so deeply entrenched that it has left people of the state at the mercy of outsiders. “We must do away with giving power of attorney to outsiders in order to enable our youth to do business in our own land. The Nagas of Nagaland are today politically and economically slaves to outsiders,” the MP added.

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