On Sunday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray urged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to not let go the Rs 3 lakh crore Ratnagiri Rajapur Refinery project.
While sharing a letter written to CM Uddhav Thackeray dated March 6 on Twitter, Raj Thackeray said: "If our state has to rise above the corona inflicted financial strain, then the Konkan & the state can’t afford to let go off the ‘Ratnagiri Rajapur Refinery project. For Maharashtra’s long-term gains, the state govt needs to handle this matter in accordance with the welfare of all."
In the letter, the MNS chief said the project will not only benefit the Konkan region, but the entire state. "I am writing to you, to draw your attention to a rather sensitive matter; keeping in mind the present and future of not only the Konkan region but our entire Maharashtra state. You are the chief leader of our state and hence, I appeal to you, to give this matter a serious thought," Raj Thackeray wrote.
"Presently, there is one opportunity knocking at the door. The coronavirus backdrop has altered our perspective and the real context of situations. There is a serious contest on to get investments into states and the country. Sometime ago, I read that a major international project was passed onto Bengaluru and the Maharashtra state government was trying its best to get it back. This piece of news was rather heartbreaking. The other states are in a cut throat game of snatching projects out of Maharashtra. In such trying times, Maharashtra should not let go off the 'Ratnagiri Rajapur Refinery' project. This is a massive project of nearly three lakh crores. We surely cannot afford to lose this project to another state," he added.
Raj Thackeray said even though there was opposition to this project from a few resident locals, their fears stemmed from uncertainty. "Their resistance was justified. Their fear was based on the fact that the land plots can go into the hands of outsiders. This fear was justified to a certain degree at that time. There was uncertainty over the issue regarding, where would the Konkan people stand when new job opportunities would open up. A few environmentalists were of the opinion that this project would destroy the natural habitat of Konkan. All this had led to the locals being wary of this project. There was also the matter of a few temples there. What would happen to these temples?" he added.
But, today it is imperative we find a definitive and appropriate solution for these issues. "I agree that keeping these issues and predicament of the locals in mind, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and other political parties had offered support to the local residents. But, today times have changed and the situation demands a radical and progressive approach. The present situation is such, that Maharashtra cannot afford to let go off any new project or a project that can bring in foreign investments. If we let this happen, we will lose our status of being a pioneer state in the industrial growth of our country," Raj Thackeray wrote.
Raj Thackeray further said that MNS will support if they take an affirmative and positive approach towards Ratnagiri Rajapur Refinery project. "The state government needs to formulate a plan keeping all these points in mind. If the government decides to take an affirmative and positive approach in this matter then my party and I will surely stand in full support and cooperation. Not only will we support you but also contribute by chalking out a comprehensive blueprint for the development of environment and tourism and submit it to you," Raj Thackeray wrote.
The proposed Asia's biggest first green oil green oil refinery, Ratnagiri Rajapur Refinery project, was shelved due to environmental concerns by previous the previous state government.
State-run oil majors have tied up with Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for the refinery project in Ratnagiri district, which entails an investment of Rs 3 lakh crore. The 60-million tonne per annum refinery-cum- petrochemical complex has been conceived as the largest such facility in the world, which was supposed to be set up on over 15,000 acres.