Maharashtra: Nanar super refinery project scrapped

When completed the Rs 3-trillion (Rs three lakh crore) refinery at Nanar in Ratnagiri, that would have been the largest single location refinery complex in the world with a capacity of 60 million tonnes. (Image for representation)

The Rs three-trillion mega refinery complex project in Nanar in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra - that would have been the biggest such project in the world - has been scrapped.

The Nanar project has been a flashpoint between BJP and Shiv Sena, the two saffron alliance partners. The scrapping of this project in Nanar on the Konkan coast along the Arabian Sea was one of the conditions put forth by the Shiv Sena for a pre-poll alliance with the BJP, that the latter agreed upon.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray in the last couple of years had repeatedly stated that he would not allow the Nanar project to come up.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday evening, Maharashtra's industries minister Subhash Desai, who is a close aide of the Thackeray family, said that government has signed a proposal to denotify the land acquired for the Nanar project.

In the next couple of days, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) will issue a gazette notification.

In the backdrop of the recent meeting between prime minister Narendra Modi and visiting Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, it appears that the project would be relocated elsewhere, however, finer details have not emerged.

Nearly a fortnight ago when BJP president Amit Shah and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met Thackeray, the Sena chief made it clear that he wants the project to go from Nanar as locals are opposed to it and it can be relocated elsewhere.

Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti's  Satyajit Chavan had earlier told DH that any project that affects the environment of the region would be opposed and would not be allowed to come up. "We are not opposed to development. But development needs to have a human face and it should suit the needs of the people and the environment...anything that pollutes the air and destroys agriculture and anything that increases heat and destroy fishing is not welcome," said Chavan, who was spearheading the project with the locals.

The Nanar project which involved an Indian consortium consisting of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) that signed an MoU with Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Saudi Aramco)  for setting up India's largest refinery and petroleum complex. When completed the Rs 3-trillion (Rs three lakh crore) refinery at Nanar in Ratnagiri, that would have been the largest single location refinery complex in the world with a capacity of 60 million tonnes.

In May 2017, the government had issued a notification to acquire 5,932 hectares of land across 14 villages in Ratnagiri and two villages in Sindhudurg.

Several Gram Panchayats in the proposed project area had passed resolutions that they do not want the project.

Earlier, state environment minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Ramdas Kadam had said that the seat-sharing formula between the two parties involved several issues which include the scrapping of Nanar project and the post of the chief minister.

Shiv Sena MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency, has regularly been in touch with agitating locals and have raised the issue time and again.

It may be recalled, in April 2018, Thackeray had said: "The BJP is holding out threats to us that if the project is not allowed in Nanar, it would be shifted to Gujarat. Let them do that, we will not allow the project to come up." He had also said that with prior information that a mega project would come up in Nanar, Gujaratis and Marwaris have purchased huge tracts of land.

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