Ratnagiri (Maharashtra), April 23 (IANS) Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Monday challenged the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to shift the proposed Nanar refinery complex from the eco-sensitive Konkan region of Maharashtra to Gujarat.
“They are trying to scare us by saying the project will go to Gujarat. You want to take it to Gujarat? Do it. We will not allow you to destroy Konkan in the name of development. Konkan will not be allowed to become a Gujarat,” Thackeray told a public rally in Nanar village here.
The village is the site for a proposed Rs 3-trillion world’s biggest integrated oil refinery and petrochemicals complex with a capacity to process 60 million tonnnes, coming up in collaboration with Saudi Arabian Oil Co known as Saudi Aramco.
Strongly opposing the refinery project, Thackeray reiterated his demand of why Vidarbha (eastern Maharashtra) was not being considered instead of the eco-sensitive and picturesque coastal Konkan region.
“You will not get Nanara. But if you destroy Konkan, then we will finish you. The people of Nanar are firmly united on this,” Thackeray roared as the crowds cheered.
Industry Minister Subhash Desai announced the cancellation of the land acquisition process in which the names of several buyers raised questions.
“Even before the project was announced, how did Gujaratis or Marwaris and others buy land here? From where did farmers like Shah, Modi or Katiyar come here? This is nothing but a scam and corruption in land allotment,” Thackeray said.
Attacking Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Thackeray accused him of reneging on his promises that the project would not be imposed if the local population had objections.
“But Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has made a deal with Saudi Arabia and chucked the CM’s assurance into the dustbin. Fadnavis’ word is not worth a dime in Delhi. Shift it to Vidarbha or take it to Gujarat, we are not bothered,” Thackeray said.
He urged the people of Nanar and surrounding areas not to give up even an inch of their land for the project.
“Today, we are peaceful. But if you continue to oppress us, we will change our tactics. If they come to survey the lands again, stop them in your own way, lie on the roads,” the Sena leader said.
Thackeray’s rally came a week after several local organisations under the banner of Konkan Refinery Shetkari-Machhimar Sangharsh Samiti and Refinery Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti visited Mumbai and drummed up support for their agitation among all political parties.
Almost all major political parties, including ruling NDA allies Shiv Sena and Narayan Rane’s Maharashtra Swabhimani Party, have supported the locals.