AS OPPOSITION Congress-NCP and ally Shiv Sena stalled the proceedings of the Assembly for the third consecutive day over the proposed West Coast Refinery in Konkan region. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said that to evolve a consensus, the government will make a presentation on the project to all parties. The House witnessed three adjournments before it was adjourned for the day as members of the Opposition and Shiv Sena trooped into the well raising slogans seeking withdrawal of the land acquisition notification and scrapping of the project.
Maintaining that the government will take everyone on board before going ahead with the project at Nanar in Ratnagiri district, Fadnavis told the Assembly: “The government believes in consensus through sustained dialogue to negate doubts arising out of incorrect information about the Asia’s first biggest green refinery…”
“We will make a presentation on the West Coast Refinery project to all political parties, including Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray. The government does not believe in thrusting any project or policy on the people. It believes in undertaking an exercise to evolve consensus before embarking on a project. The same would be done in west coast refinery.” Fadnavis said till now, he had not given any presentation on the project to Uddhav. “Earlier, the thought of making presentation to the Sena president never occurred to us because Industries Minister (Sena MLA) Subash Desai was part of the decision making process and had seen the presentation. The industries minister had only issued the notification for land acquisition.” While reiterating that following Sena’s protest, Desai had sent a proposal seeking denotification of the land acquisition process, he added: I have received the proposal. The final decision rests with me.”
Reiterating that the project would bring an investment of Rs 3 lakh crore, the CM said: “The refinery would adequately help to bring oil security in India. The project was is also significant in backdrop of the international relationships between India and Saudi Arabia.”
“Apart from creating one lakh jobs, it will set in motion the process for major economic development and growth of the Konkan region. Its positive impact will reflect in the overall growth and development of Maharashtra.”
Exuding confidence to diffuse the protest against the project, the CM said: “Initially, Opposition parties had warned of bloodshed if Maharashtra Samruddhi Corridor was approved. Today, we have completed 93 per cent land acquisition. The people have given full support to the project after they realised its benefits.” The refinery will be built in partnership between Indian consortium of Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation as well as Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabian oil company). The refinery will process 60 million tonnes of crude oil per annum. The project is likely to be completed by 2025.
Earlier in the day, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil demanded that the government should explain how the project would help the people of Maharashtra. Senior Congress leader and former CM Prithviraj Chavan said: “Saudi Aramco hires Pakistani engineers. Shall we allow Pakistani nationals into the country. Marine Academy and International Finance Centre have been shifted from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. Why is the refinery brought here?”