West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday (January 5) approved giving 13.49 acres at Ashoknagar in North 24 Parganas district to ONGC for oil exploration. 

Mamata Banerjee has written to Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan informing him of the state’s decision.

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At a meeting, Banerjee said, “The Bengal government is very happy to offer the land free of cost to ONGC. The company wanted to pay but we said you don’t have to pay. We have assured the company to provide all the land and other assistance required for setting up the industries in the state.”

“Since the state government cannot give the land without taking even at least Re 1, I am taking the responsibility of giving it on behalf of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation,” she added.

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Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had last year dedicated West Bengal's first oil and gas producing field at Ashoknagar. The extracted oil is being sent to Haldia refinery of Indian Oil Corporation.

While the state government agreed to give the land free of cost, it requested the Centre to take care of the 300 people who are on the land.