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Locals in Maharashtra village keen to sell their land for Ratnagiri Refinery project

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on July 16, 2019 Published on July 16, 2019

Residents in Nanar to protest against project cancellation

While the Maharashtra government has decided to shift the proposed mega oil refinery project from Nanar village in Ratnagiri district owing to local opposition, about 1,000 families, owning 7,000 acres in the area, are keen to sell their land for the project.

The families have united under local organisations Konkan Vikas Samiti and Konkan Janakalyan Prathistha and plan to protest against the cancellation of the project on July 20 outside the Collector’s office in Ratnagiri.

The proposed 60-million-tonne capacity mega refinery and petrochemical project, will be set up by Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd (RRPCL). PSU oil companies Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation are the promoters of the company on behalf of the Union Government.

Keshav Bhat, local resident and spokesperson of the Konkan Vikas Samiti, told mediapersons that the locals want development and jobs in Ratnagiri. The project can provide one lakh jobs while the refinery and petrochemical complex is under construction for five years. It will also provide 20,000 permanent jobs once the refinery and the petrochemical complex starts functioning.

There are a lot of misconceptions, which have been spread by vested interests in the refinery project, said Bhat. The refinery is going to be a zero discharge refinery, therefore the fears of marine pollution are unfounded; Mumbai has two refineries, which are functioning smoothly. The health hazards of refinery pollution have not been established, he added.

In Ratnagiri district, even mango farmers with a 200-acre landholding are willing to give their land because mango farming is no longer viable. The refinery will create huge opportunities for the local business community, as a number of migrant labourers will come to Ratnagiri for work, Bhat said.

A false perception

Avinash Mahajan of Konkan Janakalyan Prathistha said the perception that hundreds of temples will have to be relocated due to the refinery project is false. A survey shows that only 27 temples will have to be relocated, he explained.

Another perception is that 16 villages will have to be moved but in reality, only eight villages and another eight smaller settlements, which are called Wadis in local parlance, will have to relocate, he said.

However, Satyajit Chavan, Secretary of the Konkan Shakti Mahasangh, who has successfully opposed the project in Nanar, said the locals want their pristine villages, which are in the lap of nature, to remain untouched.

They also want their temples to remain untouched. Since Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg are eco-sensitive areas, such a polluting project is not required, he said.

Published on July 16, 2019
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