Mumbai, June 19 (IANS) Five months after pushing the Rs 3 trillion Nanar Petrochemicals Refinery Complex project in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri into cold storage, the BJP-led state government on Wednesday announced it would be shifted to adjoining Raigad district.
In a written reply in the Assembly, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the mega-refinery project will now come up near Roha in Raigad instead of Ratnagiri, both districts in the picturesque coastal Konkan region.
The proposal was temporarily shelved last February following stiff opposition by ruling ally Shiv Sena, NDA constituent Maharashtra Swabhiman Party, as well as the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and other opposition parties, besides thousands of villagers in and around Ratnagiri.
“There is no opposition to the refinery project from people in Raigad. People from around 40 villages have not shown any resistance to land acquisition for the venture,” Fadnavis said.
The Shiv Sena’s stance on the latest developments is not yet known.
Earlier this year, it had made shifting of Nanar Refinery from Ratnagiri as one of the pre-conditions for the Lok Sabha seat-sharing agreement with the BJP, to which the latter acquiesced.
The state’s opposition parties have been opposing the project from the start and on one occasion, Sena President Uddhav Thackeray last June even refused to meet then Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who wanted to allay his fears on the controversial project.
The party had first protested in April last year when an Indian consortium of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. had signed an MoU with Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to set up the estimated $44 billion project.
Slamming the BJP at the state and centre, Thackeray had accused the ally of holding out “threats” that the mega-project would be shifted to Gujarat if it was not allowed in Ratnagiri.