Batting for Shell (a Dutch company) ...??? Dutch-funded NGO trying to stall oil drilling in northeast: IB report NEW DELHI: Dutch government-funded CORDAID and its associate outfits had organized an elaborate training session for north-eastern NGO activists in Shillong last year, teaching them how to use GPS tracking to map oil wells, mines, dams, forests and habitation for an updated GIS platform on extractives in the region. The database would be used to facilitate targeted local protests and international activism against extractive industries like oil drilling in Manipur, according to an Intelligence Bureau report on the negative impact of foreign-funded NGOs' activism on India's GDP growth. The trainers at the session, two Dutch and an American, constantly reminded the participants that oil reserves in the northeast were as large as those in the entire Gulf region and that the precious resources must be preserved by the local tribals for their own use. They alleged that the government of India was, in collaboration with MNCs, "stealing the resources of the region and refusing to remove the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, or AFSPA, (from Manipur) as it needed Indian Army to extract those resources". The trainers insisted that until the rights of communities over their land and resources were recognized, Jubilant Energy, engaged in oil drilling in Manipur, and the Indian government should stop all petroleum and drilling activity in Manipur. According to the IB report, CORDAID has added 'extractive industries in the northeast' as one of the focal points for its interventions in India. It had organized a side event on 'extractive industry operations on the enjoyment of human rights' in Geneva in September 2012, with Swami Agnivesh as a prominent speaker. A 'Geneva Coalition' has begun working on extractive industries with opposition to oil drilling by Jubilant Energy in three districts of Manipur, big dams in Arunachal Pradesh and mining projects in Meghalaya. CORDAID, the IB report said, is routing funds through NGOs like Chindu (FCRA No. 010220235) and Swadhikar (FCRA No. 231661023) to the 'Manipur Coalition on Extractives', which includes Rural Woman for Upliftment Society (RWUS) and Centre for Organization Research and Education (CORE). Incidentally, the Manipur-based RWUS had sponsored the trip of eight north-eastern NGO participants to Bangkok in April-May last year, funded by CORDAID, for training in extractive activism. The foreign trip was a way to circumvent the visa denial to CORDAID's senior policy officer Eelco De Groot, earlier associated with the Dutch ministry of economic affairs, who had applied for a visit to Manipur in March last year to assess the potential for civil rights activism there. Groot not only funded the Bangkok training of the north-east activists, but also emphasized during the session that it was best to make it so difficult for the drilling company that it would be unable to meet all the required international standards involved in oil extraction. Internal documents, including maps reproduced in the IB report, reveal CORDAID's resolve to stall the Dutch-registered, Indian-owned Jubilant Oil Company's explorations plans in the north-east. They reveal mapping of Jubilant's concession areas and identification of about 150 settlements in the vicinity of 30 allotted wells. The intended strategy is to target 52 villages, which are within 5 km radius of any well, the IB report claimed. CORDAID, the IB report added, has plans to internationalize the matter under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007.