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State stays land acquisition for Nanar refinery after talks with Sena

The Maharashtra government has stayed the land acquisition process for the controversial Nanar refinery project after consulting the Shiv Sena, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

The Sena, a ruling ally of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government, has been opposing the project on the grounds that it is against the interest of the farmers and would destroy ecology in Ratnagiri district in the coastal Konkan region.

“The government has not issued any new notice for land acquisition. After talks with Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, the entire process has been stayed,” he said.

The issue came up after Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil told the House that journalist Alok Deshpande of English daily The Hindu was manhandled by police at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai Tuesday night while covering a protest against the upcoming project.

To this, Fadnavis said he would seek information about the incident and take appropriate action.

Meanwhile, four persons, including two women seated in the visitor’s gallery of the House, were detained by the Vidhan Bhavan security for raising slogans demanding to scrap of the refinery project.

Three Indian oil majors had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on April 11 this year with Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to develop a refinery and petrochemicals complex in the coastal district.

The Sena, rooted firmly in the Konkan region, has been opposing the project.

In April this year, senior Sena leader and Industries Minister Subhash Desai had announced in Ratnagiri that a government notification for acquiring land for the project in Nanar stood cancelled.

Desai’s statement was negated by the chief minister who said that the order had not been cancelled.

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