Assam Tribune has published a very interesting and though provoking story how Assam Oil ( now a mere division in Indian Oil Corporation) is being marginalised and being systematically made defunct by “covert conspiracy by an anti-Assam lobby”.
Assam Oil is traced back to its origin way back in 1867 when oil was discovered on the banks of the Dehing river. Assam Oil was merged with IOCL in 1981.
“Since 2008, Assam Oil’s marketing network has been transferred to the Marketing Division of IOC functioning as the North East Integrated State Office (NEISO). For all practical purposes, AOD is considered comprising only a small insignificant Digboi Refinery,” sources said.
Sources added that AOD which was earlier was empowered to recruit both officers and staff, has been restricted to staff-level recruiting only since 1996-drastically reducing employment at officers level from local institutions.
“Indian Oil is now adopting a policy of transferring staff-level employees from other parts of the country to Assam promoting them as officers, eroding further the prospects of local employment,” sources said, adding that there had been instances of inefficient officers transferred to Assam as punishment posting.
Though the NEISO is in Guwahati, it is operated de facto from Kolkata, with its HR and Finance controlled from Kolkata and “there is increasing tendency to control IOC’s all marketing functions from Kolkata instead of from Digboi and Guwahati. Assam Oil’s liaison offices in Delhi and Kolkata are already discontinued,” sources said, adding that even though the logo of ‘Assam Oil’ is being maintained in petrol pumps and official letter-heads, it is an eyewash without any real benefit to the region.
Assam Oil as a separate division initially had powers at par with the other four divisions of IOC, i.e., Refineries Division, Marketing Division, Pipelines Division, and Research and Development Division but the divisional powers were systematically removed in the last two decades.
“AOD is the only division in IOC which has no independent director. The director of Refineries Division also acts the ‘director in-charge’ of AOD.
Source : Assam Tribune.
While many opine that oil production in Assam and North East India is declining steadily and many attribute its reason being prolonged insurgency in Assam and North East India.
Still, a historic and very old entity like Assam Oil should be preserved which boast of oldest refinery establishment in Asia way back in 1901.