Shiv Sena: Won't allow refinery project to be thrust on locals

Feb 15, 2018, 19:42 IST | PTI

Thackeray had asked his party cadres to prevent the project at any cost on the grounds that it would destroy the environment of the Konkan region

Uddhav ThackerayShiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray

Reiterating its opposition to the proposed Rs 1.45 lakh crore oil refinery in coastal Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena today said the project won't be allowed to be "thrust" on the locals there. "No memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the project has been signed yet. My stand is clear. The project will not be imposed on the locals in any circumstances," Industries Minister Subhash Desai told reporters here.

"Chief minister Devedra Fadnavis and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will hold talks later today to sort out differences (between Sena and BJP) on the proposed project," the Shiv Sena leader said. Snubbing the Sena, Fadnavis has given the go-ahead for the mega refinery that is proposed to be set up at Nanar in Ratnagiri district.

The state government is expected to sign a MoU with a consortium of state-owned refineries to set up the mega refinery, at the Magnetic Maharashtra global investors¿ summit starting February 18. The Industries Department, headed by Desai, has included the project in the list of MoUs to be signed at the summit, which would go a long way in meeting the state government's target of attracting Rs 10 lakh crore investment commitments in the three-day summit.

The project involves setting up one of the world's largest refinery complexes in over two phases. The state government estimates that the construction of the refinery and allied industries would bring in investments to the tune of Rs 1.45 lakh crore and provide direct and indirect employment to lakhs of people. The Sena has been rallying the villagers of Nanar and surrounding areas where the refinery is proposed to be set up.

Thackeray had asked his party cadres to prevent the project at any cost on the grounds that it would destroy the environment of the Konkan region. A local body called the Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti (Committee for Opposing Destructive Projects in Konkan), which is spearheading the project, claims that residents of 16 villages have opposed the project.

The government has notified 16,000 acres of land in the area as an industrial area and land acquistion by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation has already begun. Former Sena leader Narayan Rane, who hails from Konkan and is now a part of NDA, is also opposing the project. Asked if Thackeray would attend the summit, to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Desai said an invitation has been extended to the Sena president.

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