Nanar oil refinery row simmers again

first_imgThe row over a ₹3 lakh crore oil refinery to be built in coordination with Saudi Arabia’s Aramco on Maharashtra’s coastline seems to be far from over. A pro-refinery group will organise a rally in Ratnagiri town on Saturday demanding that the project be not shifted out of its original location at Nanar in Ratnagiri district, while the anti-refinery faction has decided to hold a counter protest on the same day at the same place.An organisation called Konkan Vikas Samiti (KVS) held a press conference in Mumbai on Monday to demand that the project be not shifted out of Ratnagiri. Claiming that it would bring employment and opportunities to the local people, Avinash Mahajan of the KVS said the refinery is capable of providing employment to over 1.5 lakh people, which will lead to the development of the region as the increase in the number of employees will bring with it more facilities. “People were initially ready for the project but pressure was created to force them to oppose the project,” he said.The July 20 rally to the Collector’s office is aimed at sharing knowledge with the local people about the benefits of the refineries and to correct any misunderstanding, he said.Opponents of the project see it as a concerted attempt to push it among the local people. “There seems to be an effort from the government to bring non-political groups to the fore to push the project in Ratnagiri. There have been systematic campaigns in schools, colleges and markets from this group to promote the project,” said Satyajit Chavan, convener, Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti. Mr. Chavan also referred to the recent meeting between Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Minister of Steel Dharmendra Pradhan and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. “If the pro-refinery group is going to organise the rally, we will take to the streets to oppose them on the same day,” he said.On April 11, 2018, three Indian public sector oil companies had signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Aramco to set up the refinery at Nanar. Following protests from local residents and the ruling coalition partner Shiv Sena lending support to them, the notification issued by the State Industries Department to acquire land was cancelled and it was decided to shift the project out of Nanar. In a written reply in the Assembly in the recently-held monsoon session, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said the City and Industrial Development Corporation is developing an Integrated Industrial Cluster in 40 villages in Alibaug, Murud, Roha and Shrivardhan tehsils of Raigad over 13,409.52 hectares.Newly-elected MP from Raigad Sunil Tatkare also said on Sunday he would be studying the project in the event of its coming to his district, before deciding on whether to support it or oppose it. “I will be meeting the Chief Minister and Union minister to discuss the issue. We will decide our position only after going through its pros and cons,” he said.last_img

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