Centre to pay oil royalty dues to Assam: State minister

Guwahati, Feb 21 (IANS) The Central government will clear entire outstanding oil royalty dues of Assam — to the tune of Rs 6,320 crore — over a period of three financial years, a state minister said on Tuesday.

Addressing a a press conference here, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the amount has been pending due to a case in the Supreme Court since 2008.

“While the central government will pay first instalment of Rs 948 crore in the current financial year, the second instalment of Rs 2,844 crore will be cleared by 2017-18 fiscal. Similarly, the third instalment of Rs 2,528 crore will be paid in the subsequent financial year 2018-19,” said Sarma.

This amount of Rs 6,320 crore is in addition to Rs 1,450 crore, which has already been released by the central government, Sarma added.

“The issue was pending since 2008 when there was a Congress government at the Centre as well as in Assam. The state government was fighting in the apex court over the royalty since 2008,” Sarma said.

“I would like to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking the initiative and solving the long-pending issue,” said the Assam Finance Minister.

“It is an achievement on our part that we have been able to receive such a huge amount in less than nine months of coming to power in Assam. This is going to improve the financial condition of Assam to a great extent,” he said.

He expressed the hope that next year’s budget in Assam would have at least Rs 1,000-crore in surplus.