Tribune News Service
Mumbai, February 29
The Maha Vikas Aghadi Government in Maharashtra is scouting for alternative sites to locate the Rs 3 lakh crore mega refinery being planned by Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and Indian public sector oil companies in order to keep the project in the state, according to sources here.
The Ratnagiri Refinery and Petro-Chemicals Ltd (RRPL), the joint venture executing the project, had earlier this month sought relocating the venture to Gujarat. Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis government had earlier offered the project to be constructed at Nanar in Ratnagiri district.
However, residents of 16 villages in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, where the project was to come up, opposed the acquisition of land for the project.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had earlier this month assured the villagers that the Maharashtra Government would not forcibly acquire land for the project that was opposed by them.
According to state government sources here, the Gujarat Government had approached the central government with offers of land and other incentives in order to get the project relocated from Maharashtra.
“The Maharashtra government does not want to lose the Rs 3 lakh crore investment as it would send a wrong message to investors,” a senior bureaucrat told this reporter.
Officials say the Maharashtra Government is considering shifting the refinery to Raigad district near Mumbai. The Aramco refinery would be part of a new industrial cluster being planned over 40 villages covering Murud, Shrivardhan, Alibaug, and Roha in Raigad district, according to sources.
However, Raigad, like Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, are bastions of Thackeray’s Shiv Sena and the party is wary of opposition to mega-projects from the local villagers. At a meeting with Congress and
NCP leaders, Thackeray said the party will have to first get the local villagers on board before giving the green signal for any project.
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