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Maharashtra: As govt signals intent to revive Ratnagiri oil refinery project, opposition groups set to contest local body polls

As the first act of a new campaign against the refinery, a demonstration against alleged state oppression will be held for three days starting from August 22 at Rajapur police station.

Ratnagiri oil refinery project. (Photo: rrpcl.com)

Amid indications from the state government that it will move forward with the mega oil refinery project in Ratnagiri, pitched as Asia’s biggest, local residents opposed to the project will contest the upcoming rural local body elections.

As the first act of a new campaign against the refinery, a demonstration against alleged state oppression will be held for three days starting from August 22 at Rajapur police station.

“Earlier we used to depend on a political party to push our cause. There is speculation that the local Sena MLA may join the Eknath Shinde group. Even if he does not, we have decided to not depend on him. We will take along people from Nanar, Bars-Solgaon area, Natye, Ambolgad and Rajwadi. It is time to give a political answer,” said Kamlakar Gurav, a resident of Devache Gothane village where the project’s new site is being planned. Gurav is also the vice-president of Barsu-Solgaon Panchkroshi, an umbrella body of local organisations opposing the project.

“We will create our own political pressure group by contesting the upcoming zilla parishad, panchayat samiti and gram panchayat polls,” he added.

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The state’s new industries minister, Uday Samant, who is from Ratnagiri district, has already extended support to the project, which will be executed in Barsu-Solgaon. “I will talk to those opposing the project and resolve their grievances,” he had said earlier this week. Samant has also been visiting pro-project groups from Nanar and Barsu-Solgaon.

The Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (RRPCL), promoted by the three major Public Sector oil companies — Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd — was originally planned in Nanar village of Ratnagiri district.

The Shiv Sena had opposed the project citing local opposition and after party president Uddhav Thackeray became the Chief Minister, he announced that the project will not move forward in Nanar. Since then, the location was finalised at the Barsu-solgaon area. Local residents have opposed the project citing environmental reasons.

First published on: 19-08-2022 at 09:45:12 pm
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