Mumbai: Farmers and villagers on Wednesday vowed to intensify their agitation against a proposed refinery in the coastal Konkan region of Maharashtra. The petroleum ministry plans to set up a refinery at Rajapur in Ratnagiri district, about 400km from Mumbai. It is to be called West Coast Refinery.
Farmers and residents of around 14 villages of Rajapur taluka are opposing the project, saying it will destroy the rich flora and fauna of the coastal area and adversely affect its biodiversity. Representatives of the farmers and villagers from the area today held a press meet here and demanded scrapping of the project. They voiced their opposition to the project and highlighted its “disastrous effects”.
To execute the project, the Maharashtra government, on May 18, 2017, declared nearly 16,000 acres of land around the project site as an industrial zone under the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) Act. The Konkan Refinery Virodhi Sangharsh Sanghtana, a group of farmers and villagers formed to oppose the project, said the proposed refinery will pose serious health risks to locals.
Ashok Valam, president of the group, said, “The project-affected people are demanding that the proposed plant be scrapped without any delay. This (the project) will prove disastrous not only for farmers, but also villagers and fishermen.” Addressing the presser, Valam said the project will lead to displacement of around 16,000 residents. It will pose health risks to local residents as it will cause pollution and release hazardous gases. He said so far no public representative has come forward to oppose the project. However, the project-affected farmers and residents will intensify their fight against it.