Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has stepped in to see that the Rs 3 lakh crore refinery project, which was proposed in the Konkan region, will remain in the state and will not go to neighbouring Gujarat. Gadkari, who had earlier written a letter in February to the union petroleum minister Hardip Singh Puri, has shot off a letter to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to shift the refinery project being proposed by the Indian oil marketing companies to the Vidarbha region.
The project thereby will be shifted from the coastal to non-coastal Vidarbha region provided the Thackeray led Maha Vikas Aghadi gives its approval. Gadkari has assured that necessary infrastructure including roads will be developed for the refinery project.
Gadkari’s move is crucial as the BJP-led government in March 2019 ahead of assembly elections due to erstwhile ally Shiv Sena scrapped the project after the former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis signed the file to de-notify acquisition of land in Ratnagiri district where the project was planned. The project envisages the annual production of 60 million tonnes.
Former BJP legislator Ashish Deshmukh, who has re-joined Congress party, has already urged Thackray to shift the refinery project to the Vidarbha region saying that it will help boost the development there. ‘’This (upcoming) world's biggest refinery project should not go to any other state. If locals at Nanar are opposing it, the chief minister should shift it to Vidarbha," Deshmukh had said in his letters to both former CM Devendra Fadnavis and Thackeray.