We want benefits to go to people

Pungthing Shimrang, a senior member of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac Muviah), tells Down To Earth

On resumption of oil exploration
We have not agreed on that. We can't allow mineral resources of the state to be extracted by outsiders.

On environmental damages
If oil companies are keen on oil exploration they must take care of the environment. We have seen how the third world countries have been exploited for natural resources and have been made to suffer.

On a local body contacting Spice Resources
The region has a lot of oil. So it is not surprising that companies like ONGC, Canaro or Spice Resource are interested in it. But no one is bothered about the people and the local environment.

Which is more important: royalty or environmental concern
They are different issues. The state government will always look forward to royalty as it will bring revenue, but environmental issues affect people. We can't let our future generations suffer. Regarding royalty, benefits should come to the landholders.

On a different revenue sharing model
We are not against any company but we want the benefits to go to the people. It will be ideal if an oil company which plans to operate in Changpang adopts the village.

Why didn't NSCN talk about pollution in 1994?
We talked of four requirements then: development, royalty, revenue and environment. In fact, we had asked ONGC to plant 10 trees for every one tree that they cut but the company did not listen. Now they are blaming us. It is true that development will bring about some environmental damage but care should be taken to minimize such damage. This is something that ONGC ignored. Large tracts of land have been destroyed as a result.

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