The state-run Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has identified two alternate sites at Tala in Raigad district and Jaigad in Ratnagiri district for the Rs 3 lakh crore mega refinery and petrochemical project.
The MIDC has also done its internal assessment which has revealed that about 9,000 acre of land each at both these sites can be available for the refinery and petrochemical project while the land for township and related activities can be acquired little away. The MIDC will soon formally submit details with regard to land to the state government for further action.
A senior officer from the state industry department told Free Press Journal, “Land is not an issue as it is available. The government has to give its nod. Thereafter, the state government can initiate talks with the Union Petroleum Ministry on availability of land at Tala and Jaigad. However, it will be up to the petroleum ministry and the Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, a special purpose vehicle formed by three oil PSUs IOCL, BPCL and HPCL, to take call on shifting the project from Nanar in Ratnagiri district to an alternate site.”
He said the green signal from both the Centre and the state governments is needed only after that the project can come up.
This development came a day after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that the state government will see that the mega refinery and petrochemical project with the production capacity of 60 million tonne per annum (MTPA) remains in the state and it can be developed at an alternate site in Maharashtra. As reported by Free Press Journal, Thackeray has clarified that the project development at Nanar in Ratnagiri district is a closed chapter following the opposition from local residents.
Incidentally, the petroleum ministry and Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (RRPL) have not given up hopes about the project development at Nanar. The RRPL has conducted awareness campaigns through print and electronic media as well as door to door campaigns to impress upon the local population about the benefits of the project as well as to dispel misconception about adverse environmental impact by setting up the refinery. Both the petroleum ministry and the RRPL expect the state government communication on alternate sites.
However, sources in the know, hinted that the change in location from the present Nanar site will not be just a time-consuming exercise but it will lead to a cost escalation. The project cost may increase by another Rs 2 lakh crore which may impact the project viability.