The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - J.H. Hutton's tour diary in the Naga Hills

caption: Rationale behind and details of Nagas' compensation by oil company for land taken
medium: tours
person: ManigalBlackwood/ MrVisar
location: Dimapur Nichuguard R.S. (Nichuguard) Samaguting (Chimaikudima) Ekarani Zubza Priphema (Piphima)
date: 25.6.1925
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 29.5.1925-29.6.1925
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 25th
text: Heard a few cases and having finished off the list got a lift to Nichuguard in Manigal's car. There I inspected the thana, and had a bathe and lunch and then went with Mr. Blackwood to see the Whitehall Petroleum Corporation's land and the Chimaikudi Nagas. The Whitehall Petroleum Corporation has taken up just under 300 acres of which about half is low land jhumed occasionally and the remainder is a spur of good jhum and thatch land which is conveniently near the village and is cultivated whenever possible. Visar was with me. I had to fix the compensation due to Chimaikudi, with the case of Kongan very fresh in my mind. I found both sides prepared to agree on the basis of a yearly payment to be made through the Deputy Commissioner of Rs.300/- for so long as this land is occupied by the Oil Co. The Nagas will be able to jhum, cut firewood, thatch etc. only with permission of the Company, which in its turn will agree to clear its boundaries and keep a fire line where it considers one necessary to protect its property from the burning of neighbouring jhums. Timber trees taken from outside the area taken up will be paid for. Chimaikudima village will be out of bounds for the company's labour. As it is not unlikely that the Whitehall Petroleum Corporation will find no oil worth working and will clear out after two or three years, and as in the event of their most sanguine hopes being realised they are not likely to stay for ever as the life of the best oil fields is said to be only about 30 years, I think that this form of compensation is much more suitable than a lump sum. It is also much fairer to the village, as if a lump sum is paid, the existing adult men eat it all and the people who suffer are the next generation who are deprived of jhum land and get no sort of return for the loss. The lump sum given is squandered at once, being much more than Nagas are accustomed to handle and for all the permanent benefit it is to them it might just as well not have been paid. On the other hand the system of annual payments works quite smoothly in the case of khats and some of the Assam Company's land and gives a good deal of satisfaction to the recipients. If the Whitehall Petroleum Corporation find oil in workable quantity they will make enormous profits and can quite well afford aquittance of $20 per annum to the owners of the land which is in the case of the tila on which they are going to build and bore all privately owned. Anyway the advent of an oil colony so near the village will ruinate it for all time, and it (the oil company) should pay for the privilege, nor would it be at all fair that Government should eat all the profit and Chimaikudima all the evil and none of the profit that will result from the oil - if any. As a matter of fact it works out at about 80/- per household for the loss of two years' cultivation, assuming that the land lies fallow for 12 years in the ordinary course of events.
text: After returning from the oil lands I had another bathe, though the stream was too strong for me to use the proper bathing pool. I also renewed gun licenses.
text: The Nichuguard Mauzadar has moved to Ekarani in the Dimapur Mauza and wants parwanas etc. sent to him there. He is wishful to keep on his Mauza from Ekarani but I doubt if this is sound, and have warned him that if I can find a suitable man in the Nichuguard Mauza I shall cut his name and appoint him.
text: There was a scheme for amalgamating the Nichuguard and Zubza outposts at Piphima, but I am not quite sure whether, if this oil business comes off we shall not want a road post at Nichuguard after all, we do, however, badly need a post at Piphima.