Dispute Halts Drilling in Rajasthan

Drilling in Rajasthan has been slowed due to a disagreement between ONGC and the Wild Life Board. The Wild Life Board is seeking Rs 5 crore compensation for drilling the wells in the park area, ONGC is prepared to pay only Rs 1 crore. As the stand off between the two continues, ONGC has shifted the desert rig, brought here for drilling wells, to Gujarat.

After a survey indicated huge reserves of oil and gas near Birmani village in Myajlar area of Rajasthan, ONGC had planned to drill several deep wells. But the desert national park officials objected to any activity in the reserve area on the ground that it would disturb wild life habitat and flora. The issue is now pending before the courts.

ONGC contends that after spending crores of rupees on exploration works, it was not in a position to pay Rs 5 crore, and could pay only Rs 1 crore.

The park sources said since the area had been declared as a wild life reserve, any change in it can be made only with the permission of the Wild Life Board.