Mumbai: Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray will visit Barsu village in Ratnagiri district in the first week of May in the wake of protests by local residents against the proposed oil refinery, party MP Vinayak Raut said in Mumbai on Thursday.
The refinery and petrochemical complex is proposed to be built at a cost of $ 44 billion by a consortium of three oil PSUs and Saudi oil major Aramco. Incidentally, Thackeray as the chief minister had written a letter to PM Narendra Modi welcoming the project.
Protesters were being suppressed, says Raut
Raut, who represents the Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri area in Lok Sabha, alleged that the protesters were being suppressed and even the media was being prevented from covering the protests.
“The protests against the refinery are not new. The protests are peaceful and they are protesting against the project on a scientific basis. They have written extensively to the Chief Minister and the Guardian Minister several times over the past few months and have sought meetings with the authorities.
However, they haven’t been given a hearing. The authorities should talk to the protesters, but the government is running away from holding a dialogue,” Raut said.
Fear among locals that mega project will affect biodiversity of the coastal region
On Tuesday, more than 111 people, mostly women, were arrested after they tried to block a road in Barsu and Solgaon areas and lay on the ground to stop government vehicles from entering the proposed site of the refinery, Raut said, adding that the local residents fear that the mega project will adversely affect the fragile biodiversity of the coastal Konkan region and also hit their livelihood.
The Shiv Sena (UBT) supports the local residents, Raut said and demanded an immediate end to “atrocities” against protesters. The party has also decided to launch an agitation against the proposed refinery, he added.