Amid talk of shifting of the Rs 3 lakh crore mega refinery project from Nanar to Barsu or any other site in Ratnagiri district, the villagers on Wednesday took out a morcha to protest against it. The villagers demanded that the project should not come up in the Konkan region and they also demanded an apology from Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray who in 2019 despite sharing power with the BJP had opposed the project citing opposition from the locals.
The villagers asked what prompted the Chief Minister and his son to change their stand on the mega refinery project.
Satyajit Chavan, who is spearheading the agitation against the project, told the Free Press Journal, ‘’The mega refinery project will be opposed and the villagers will step up opposition if the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government plans to pursue its implementation. The project will adversely impact the nature and ecology especially due to the waste generated from it. Shiv Sena had opposed the project at Nanar and how it is now ready for its development on another site.’’ He criticised the Chief Minister for sending letter to the Centre proposing shifting to refinery to another site in Ratnagiri. How CM can dash off such letter without taking the locals into confidence?’’ he asked.
A mechanical engineer Mrugesh Ghevade, who is also at the forefront of opposing the refinery project, said that the government’s claim of creation of jobs for the locals was an eyewash. Besides, he added that the locals have no skill sets needed for the refinery project. He reiterated that the villagers will continue to oppose the refinery project while they will welcome green projects in the Konkan region.
Meanwhile, Thackeray in January this year has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposing to move the multi-billion dollar refinery project planned in Ratnagiri to another site in the coastal district. The project was earlier proposed to be built at Nanar in Ratnagiri district, but has got stalled due to opposition from local organisations and the ruling Shiv Sena in the state.
"The CM wrote a letter to the prime minister in January regarding shifting of the refinery project to another site,” the official said.
On Tuesday, during his visit to Ratnagiri, state Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray had said the refinery project planned in the Konkan region will come up only after locals are consulted and their consent is obtained. He had also said the project will not be built at Nanar, its original proposed site.
Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan had reportedly stated on Sunday that there was hope of revival of the project as the Maharashtra government seemed to be changing its mind about it.