Mumbai, November 28
In a major setback to the proposed 60-mmtpa Ratnagiri refinery and petrochemical project, Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday announced in the Assembly that his government has stayed the process of land acquisition for the ₹3-lakh crore mega refinery.
Fadnavis said the process of land acquisition is not under way at site nor any State government notification has been issued for acquiring the land.
After discussing the matter with Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, the entire process has been halted.
He assured that there would be no forcible land acquisition at the villages, where the project is to be set up.
Shiv Sena, an ally of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)-led State government, has been opposing the project on the grounds that it is against the interest of the farmers and it will destroy the fragile ecology of Ratnagiri district in the coastal Konkan region.
The issue came up after Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil told the House that a journalist was manhandled by police at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai on Tuesday night while covering a protest against the refinery project.
In April this year, senior Sena leader and State Industries Minister Subhash Desai had announced in Ratnagiri that a government notification for acquiring land for the project in Nanar stood cancelled. But later his statement was negated by Fandavis who said that the order had not been cancelled, as only a high-powered committee has powers to cancel such a notification.
State oil marketing companies, BPCL, HPCL and IOC are jointly developing the mega project in partnership with Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
A pre-feasibility report for the refinery, prepared by Engineers India Ltd, said the major objective of the project is the production of fuel products and petrochemicals in line with the projected market supply-demand gap, maximise use of competitive indigenous technologies, production of fuels conforming to BS-VI specifications and maximise diesel production.
Considering the 60-mmtpa capacity of the refinery, it is envisaged that crude will be shipped to the refinery on very large crude carriers. The complex shall also have the flexibility to process opportunity crudes like waxy and high tan crudes, the report said.
With inputs from Agencies