• Team MMB

What you need to know: Oil Refinery Movement in Assam

Oil has played an important role in the politics of Assam and is a determining factor in the relation between the centre and the state.


The right over the natural resources of Assam has been an issue of contention between the central government and Assam in post-independence India when governance was minimal and minimally honest.



The discovery of a new oilfield in Assam immediately after independence led to conflicts not only between the Assam and the central governments, but also between the Government of India and the Assam Oil Company and its equity holder, the Burmah Oil Company, since there were moves to nationalise minerals.


Though the conflict between Assam and the government of India started over the location of the refinery, the debates in the public sphere and in the Assam legislative assembly raised larger issues like the rights over natural resources, the question of Assam's development and the centre's role in it and the relation between the centre and the state.

In 1939, there was a major labour union strike in the Refinery. The Gandhi Movement of Congress for Indian Independence struggle; backed by labour rights and equality status was headed by Sardar Amar Singh Marwah. The break of the World War II coincided with the Digboi labour strike resulted in harsh steps taken by the British Administrative offices to crush the strike. The Viceroy and the Governor had intervened to bring a settlement adopting sturdy steps were take to crush the union by shooting down of the president of the labour union to be followed by issuing orders of Quit Digboi, Quit Lakhimpur and finally Quit Assam to the leaders of the labour union.



The Digboi Refinery modernization project was taken up in large scale in order to overcome the technological obsolescence of the old refinery.


Subsequently, a number of other major projects were undertaken by Assam Oil Division to further revamp and modernise Digboi Refinery.Digboi refinery has been awarded the ISO-14001 and OHSMC certificate.

This is in part of a bigger series: Keep watching this space, and help develop value for what makes us #Free and #Independent! After all, Assam has its own story. Follow us @ManuheManuhorbabe1 on Twitter and on Facebook for stories that demand our awareness of because these are #ourstories

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