Two days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the proposed Nanar oil refinery will be relocated, a Shiv Sena minister has said the project won’t be allowed anywhere else in the coastal Konkan region.
Opposition from farmers had prompted Maharashtra to move the location for what would be the country’s biggest oil refinery, Fadnavis had announced Monday after the BJP forged an alliance with Shiv Sena for the upcoming elections.
State-run oil companies and Saudi Arabian Oil Company known as Saudi Aramco have teamed up to build the $44 billion (Rs 3 lakh crore) refinery, which is aimed at giving India steady fuel supplies while meeting Saudi Arabia’s need to secure regular buyers for its oil.
“We (Sena) won’t allow the oil refinery to be set up anywhere in the Konkan region,” Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam told reporters on Wednesday.
The announcement by Kadam came after Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in India Tuesday night and is expected to announce investments in energy and infrastructure during the visit.
“Cancellation of the refinery project in Konkan was the first condition that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had put before BJP president Amit Shah and Fadnavis. The project will not take place anywhere in Konkan,” the minister said.
“Shiv Sena leader and state industries minister Subhash Desai communicated the party’s Nanar refinery-related objections to Fadnavis,” Kadam said.
The chief minister assured Desai that a notification cancelling the Nanar refinery project will be issued before the code of conduct for the Lok Sabha polls comes into effect, Kadam said.
Nanar village in Ratnagiri district, some 400 km south of Mumbai was to be the site for the world’s biggest integrated oil refinery and petrochemicals complex with a capacity to process 60 million tonnnes.
Nearly 14 villages and 850 families were likely to be affected due to the project. Thousands of farmers refused to surrender land, fearing it could damage a region famed for its Alphonso mangoes, vast cashew plantations and fishing hamlets that boast bountiful catches of seafood.
After their protests, land acquisition was stopped for the refinery at the proposed site at Nanar.
The entire Konkan belt is ecologically sensitive and is home to one of a large varieties of flora and fauna apart from animal, bird and reptile species and is tagged as one of the most fragile ecological zones in the world.