Petition Closed

 

Oil spills from Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) well sites in Wokha district of Nagaland, India have severely destroyed Changpang and Tsorri villages of the district. More than two thousand indigenous Lotha Naga peoples of the villages have seen the farmlands, forests and water sources they rely on for their survival contaminated due to the spillage, including their spiritual sites. Further, health problems in the district have increased significantly in this area since the spillage, with higher rates of water-borne diseases, malnutrition, miscarriages, cancer, kidney failure and nerve problems.

The ONGC began extraction since 1981 after acquiring permission from the Government of Nagaland in 1973 to explore oil and natural gas in the villages without obtaining the Free Prior and Informed Consent of the indigenous communities as per the national and international law (Art. 371(A) of the Constitution of India and UNDRIP Art. 19). As per the provisions of Art. 371(A), both mineral and surface resources belong to the communities and not the State. Only after continued protests by numerous civil society groups for over a decade, the government withdrew permission in 1994.

Due to improper and careless capping of the oil well sites, oil spillage has continued for over 17 years now and continues to affect the lives of the peoples in the villages. Before the extraction was stopped, the ONGC is estimated to have produced more than 1.2 million metric tons of oil from this area yet the company appears not to have used a portion of the profit from this for making sure the sites were properly secured.

Recently, a case has been filed at Guwahati High Court against the ONGC, Government of Nagaland and its affiliated departments that is going on. We need your urgent support to save the villages and attain justice for harms the villagers suffered.

This online petition has been initiated by North East Peoples Alliance (NEPA), India and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP).

Letter to
Minister of Forests and Environment, Government of India, New Delhi Ms. Jayanthi Natarajan
Chairman & Managing Director, ONGC Mr. A K Hazarika
Chief Minister of Nagaland Mr. Neiphiu Rio
and 1 other
Prime Minister of India, South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi, 110 10 Dr. Manmohan Singh
I would like to express my great concern and criticism of the continuing destruction of lands, forests, water and health of Lotha Naga indigenous communities of Changpang and Tsorri villages in Wokha District of Nagaland due to oils spills from Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) well sites in the area.

The ONGC began extraction since 1981 after acquiring permission from the Government of Nagaland in 1973 to explore oil and natural gas in the villages in non-conformation to Article 371(A) of the Constitution of India. Only after continued protests by numerous civil society groups for over a decade, the government withdrew permission in 1994.

However, due to improper and careless capping of the oil well sites, the spillage has continued for over 17 years now and contaminated the soil and water in the surrounding areas. More than two thousand indigenous Lotha Naga communities of the villages have seen the farmlands, forests and water sources they rely on for their survival contaminated due to the spillage, including their spiritual sites. Further, health problems in the district have increased significantly in this period, with higher rates of water-borne diseases, malnutrition, miscarriages, cancer, kidney failure and nerve problems. Over 200 cases of health problems have been traced back to the oil spill. This alone is shocking but nothing has been done to remedy the situation.

Before the extraction was stopped, ONGC is estimated to have produced more than 1.2 million metric tons of oil from this area yet the company appears not to have used a portion of the profit from this for making sure the sites were properly secured. ONGC have violated the Water Act and the environmental standards laid down by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of Lotha Naga indigenous communities as per national and international laws (Art. 371(A) of Constitution of India and UNDRIP, Art. 19) was ignored from the very beginning and their suffering has been too. But now it is time to hear them.
A case has been filed at Guwahati High Court against the ONGC, Government of Nagaland and its affiliated departments that is going on.

I urge you to start immediate measures to resettle, rehabilitate and compensate the people affected by the oil spills. Further, I request you to take actions for mitigating the environmental impacts on agricultural lands, forests and water sources from the spillage and initiate criminal proceedings against those responsible for these damages.

Yours sincerely,