Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said the proposed Nanar oil refinery project in Ratnagiri district will not be imposed and if there are any misconceptions among people, those will be cleared through dialogues.
The CM was replying to a calling attention motion moved by NCP leader Dhananjay Munde, Congress leader Sanjay Dutt, and others in the Upper House.
“We are already in discussions with locals, which is the reason we did not go ahead with the project even after issuing a notification for land acquisition. The government has not decided on the next course of action. The NEERI and IIT Bombay have been asked to make an environment and social impact assessment,” Mr. Fadnavis said.
The CM informed the House that he had personally made efforts to bring the project to Maharashtra as it involves investments worth Rs. 3 lakh crore and will provide jobs to one lakh people.
“Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh were also considered for this project, but I had personally demanded that this refinery be built in our State. These are fourth generation refineries and don’t discharge pollutants. Singapore, which is known as an environment-friendly country, also has one such refinery. Around 5,500 objections were registered to the refinery, but the owners of 2,500 acres have given their consent in writing to give land for the project,” he said.
India’s three public sector oil companies — Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, and Hindustan Petroleum— had signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabian Oil Company Saudi Aramco to set up this project in Konkan region earlier this year. However, except the ruling BJP, every other party had opposed this project, which included the Shiv Sena.
Mr. Fadnavis had termed the project a fortunate one for the State. The refinery project requires 15,000 acres of land in 16 villages of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg district.
Industries Minister and Sena leader Subhash Desai had announced the cancellation of the notification for land acquisition at a public rally in Nanar in April, in the presence of Sena chief Udhhav Thackeray.
On the cancellation of the notification, the CM said the Industries Minister had sent a proposal, but the government is yet to decide on it. “I have clarified on this and there is no confusion. The west coast refinery project will come up; if not in Nanar then somewhere else. The Industries Minister took a decision limited to his department, but in this matter, the high-power committee and the CM have to take a call. I reiterate we will not be imposing this project,” Mr. Fadnavis said.
However, the Opposition benches were not satisfied with the CM’s reply.
Congress MLC Bhai Jagtap accused the government of lying, and asked the CM to disclose the names of owners of 2,500 acres of land, who have given their consent in writing. The CM expressed his willingness to disclose those names provided there is no danger to their lives.
Mr. Desai, however, chose to remain silent throughout the discussion, which prompted some Opposition members to taunt the CM.
“I am here to give you a satisfactory answer technically. I don’t know if I can politically satisfy you,” the CM told the Opposition.
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