After the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi Government blocked the BJP led NDA government's flagship Rs 1 lakh crore Mumbai Ahmedabad bullet train project, the Rs 3 lakh crore mega refinery project at Nanar in Ratnagiri district faces the same fate. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced that the refinery and petrochemical project with 60 million tonnes per annum (MPTA) capacity at Nanar is a closed chapter and the government will not push for the same considering the opposition from the local villagers.
However, Thackeray in the same breath declared that the government will see that the refinery project does not go out of Maharashtra but come up at an alternate site. Even though CM has refrained from divulging further details, a section of Maha Vikas Aghadi has hinted that the refinery project may come up in the coastal Raigad district.
Thackeray’s statement came days after his estranged cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Raj Thackeray had made the strong case for the development of refinery project saying that the state government cannot afford to let go off it if it has to rise above the corona inflicted financial strain. ‘’We are not supporting or opposing any project for the sake of it. Earlier, it was decided to shift the refinery project from Nanar following opposition from locals. We are committed to them. However, the refinery will come on an alternate location in the state,’’ he noted.
Further, Thackeray’s announcement coincided with the union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan in a written reply in Rajya Sabha said that the proposed refinery site had been identified by three PSUs including IOCL, BPCL, and HPCL in consultation with the state government. However, the state government through a notification dated March 2, 2019, has withdrawn the earlier notification of May 18, 2017, for the acquisition of land for the refinery cum petrochemical project.
Pradhan further noted that the Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited has conducted an awareness campaign through print and electronic media as well as door to door campaign to impress upon the local population about the benefits of the project as well as to dispel a misconception about adverse environmental impact by setting up the refinery.