Nanar back in focus as Maharashtra polls near

The Nanar refinery issue was a bone of contention between the BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. PTI File Photo

The Nanar super refinery project in the coastal Konkan belt - that had been a bone of contention between BJP and its ally Shiv Sena - is back in focus again with the approaching Maharashtra Legislative Assembly elections.

This Saturday, both pro and anti groups vis-a-vis the project will stage separate dharnas outside the Ratnagiri collectorate.

It may be recalled, in February, when BJP president Amit Shah, now also the union home minister, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray finalised the seat and power-sharing formula for 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, scrapping the Nanar project was one of the conditions.

Accordingly, in March, the Rs. three-trillion mega refinery complex in Nanar in Ratnagiri district  - the biggest such project in the world - was scrapped. The project, proposed to be spread over 15,000 acres, would have had a capacity of 60 million tonnes.

The Shiv Sena, which has a big voter base in the Konkan region, held the ground that any project against the wishes of people, should not be forced upon.

Thereafter, the Fadnavis government decided to build the project in the proposed integrated industrial township project at Roha in Raigad district.

Now, Rajapur-based Konkan Janakalyan Pratishthan (KJP) has come in support of the project and said locals themselves want the project. "The Nanar project was to be spread over 15,000 acres. We have consent letters for 7,500 acres. More and more people are coming with consent letters," KJP president Pandharinath Amberkar told DH. "More than 1,000 persons have given the letters," he said, adding that locals are keen for the project to come up.

However, Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti (KVPVS) has questioned the claims of the KJP. "We have heard about it. They claim that they have letters of consent for 7,500 acres, is this the land within the notified area of the proposed project or in the entire Rajapur tehsil? People are still opposed to the project," KVPVS's Satyajit Chavan, who is spearheading the project, told DH. "We know that there are builders and hoteliers in that group," he added.

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