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The Maharashtra government Tuesday said a “model compensation and rehabilitation package” would be worked out for the people who would be affected by the “country’s biggest oil refinery project” in coastal Konkan. The government also constituted a committee to take ahead the green refinery project that is expected to bring Rs 1 crore investment and generate employment for nearly 1 lakh people.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had convened a meeting Tuesday with local politicians, officials representing Indian Oil, BPCL, Hindustan Petroleum, and various non-government organisations under the banner of Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti.
Giving nod to include representatives from every organisation in the coordination committee, Fadnavis got experts to dispel fears about pollution likely to be caused by the oil refinery. The presentation showed the green oil refinery would not pose any hazard to the environment, with the CM claiming it would lead to “zero pollution”.
Ever since the project was cleared a year ago by the Union cabinet, there have been environmental concerns from various quarters, including NDA ally Shiv Sena.
Stating that Maharashtra had taken a lead in the country to provide the “best compensation and rehabilitation package to people affected by projects”, Fadnavis directed the officials to come out with a “model package”.
The oil refinery will be set up at Rajapur in Ratnagiri district of Konkan, 400 km from Mumbai. The project will be called West Coast Refinery.
Almost 16,000 acres have been identified and declared as industrial zone under the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) Act for the project. Fadnavis assured: “We are going to provide best compensation, which would be a model for the entire country as it would have addressed concerns of each and every
family.” He added: “We have adopted a policy to collaborate and not confront. We don’t allow coercion in any of our projects; welfare of people is our top priority.”
The CM also stressed that every development project in the state had adequate safeguards to protect the environment. A senior Shiv Sena minister said, “Initially, we were opposed to the project tooth and nail. We were concerned that the oil refinery would destroy the flora and fauna of the region. But when it was brought to our notice that this would be a green oil refinery, we have decided to cooperate.” He added: “If the villagers are ready to support the project, why would we oppose?”