Mumbai: In a sharp escalation of words, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has accused Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of betrayal and backtracking on his promise that the mega oil refinery project at Nanar will not be imposed on the people of Konkan.
Thackeray is in Japan on private tour. In his statement from overseas, he has said that the Centre does not give any credence to the assurances of Fadnavis. He recalled that Fadnavis had categorically stated that the project will not be imposed, if the local population was opposed to it. He further asserted that the Sena will not let the project happen. Thackeray felt the chief minister ought to have been assertive and told the Centre that he will not sit quiet if injustice is heaped on the population. Meanwhile, project affected people held a meeting in Mumbai to finalise the strategy and chart out their action plan on the project.
These project-affected persons had met Fadnavis on February 15 and submitted thousands of letters from locals opposing the project. The CM had assured them the project would not be inflicted on unwilling people and hence the Memorandum of Understanding for the refinery was not signed in the Magnetic Maharashtra summit. Ashok Walanj, convenor of PAPs, said, “People from Konkan will not allow the project to come up and the protest will continue till it is scrapped.’’
But even as the Sena took a belligerent stand on the refinery, the situation on the ground is not too pleasing with the Sena performing poorly in the three municipal councils of Guhagar, Devrukh and Kankavli in the Konkan region. On the other hand, arch rival Narayan Rane has done exceedingly well in Kankavli civic body. This seems to suggest that Rane has managed to hijack the Sena plank on the oil refinery.
Incidentally, Subhash Desai, the industries minister, too had made a statement opposing the project in the Assembly during the budget session. Out of 14 affected villages, nine gram panchayats have passed a resolution against the project. An Indian consortium consisting of oil manufacturing companies and Saudi Aramco signed a MoU on Wednesday in New Delhi to jointly develop and build the integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex in Maharashtra. It will be a Rs 2 lakh crore investment project.