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).