I strongly feel that a historic entity like Assam Oil should be preserved. Afterall, we proudly boast of it as the oldest refinery of Asia, established way back in 1901. Unfortunately, the oil production in Assam has been declining steadily because of the prolonged insurgency in Assam and other parts of North-East India. But there is another reason to it, a much more prominent one.
According to The Assam Tribune, decline in the status of Assam Oil Company started after its merger with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in 1981. Today it is on the verge of losing its unique identity which can be traced back to the late nineteenth century when oil was discovered on the banks of the Dehing river in 1867. Since 1981, Assam Oil has gradually been marginalized, and things have reached such a stage where it is vested with little functioning power or activities.
Since 2008, Assam Oil’s marketing network has been transferred to the Marketing Division of IOC, and today Assam Oil Division (AOD) comprises of only a small insignificant Digboi Refinery. Also AOD, which was earlier empowered to recruit both officers and staff, today can recruit only staffs. This has drastically reduced employment at officers level from local institutions. These issues are also ironical in the context of the Government’s Look East Policy, because Digboi is located near the historic Stilwell Road, which could have supported immense trade between India and the Eastern Asia. Isn’t it high time we adopt look east policy within India?