Decision Maker: Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of Maharashtra
Ask: Scrap Nanar oil refinery project in Konkan coast.
Shelved in 2019 before the assembly elections, the Government of Maharashtra intends to revive the Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemical Limited project (commonly referred as Nanar oil refinery project) again. Estimated at a whooping 3.5 lakh cr, the controversial project is planned to be set up at Konkan region of Nanar village. Despite strong objections from the locals in the past and present, the state government is keen on stirring the enormous 'development' project.
What is the Nanar oil refinery project?
First proposed in 2014, the West Coast refinery project aims at propelling 'development' in the Konkan coast of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts.
State-owned refineries such as Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) signed a MOU with Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Saudi Aramco) to establish the largest refinery and petroleum complex in India.
With a capacity of 60 million tonnes, it was estimated to be the largest single location refinery complex in the world.
To facilitate the project, 14,000 hectares of land was required that was sprawled across 17 villages in the region.
Why was the Nanar oil refinery project scrapped then?
The gram panchayats of 14 demarcated villages adopted a resolution together demanding the refinery project to be stalled while localities took to the streets to protest the development project in favor of Konkan coast's environment.
Ratnagiri is renowned for its abundance of marine wealth, the local fishing community firmly opposed the project to protect their source of sustenance.
The oil refinery project was scrapped in 2019 following vehement opposition from local leaders, farmers, fishermen, environmentalists and residents.
Why should the project be shelved again?
Altogether, 14 or more villages will be affected by the mega refinery project. Among these are Barasu, Solgaon, Goval, Shivane Khurd and others located around the Arjuna river in Rajapur taluka.
Since agriculture is the backbone of the region, a large-scale development project such as this will destroy farmers' roots and rob them of their livelihood.
As per the local fishing community, the mega oil refinery project is detrimental to fishing, the only source of their livelihood. The industrial pollution in the form of oil spillages and waste discharge into the sea will harm aquatic life and the marine biodiversity of Konkan region.
“It will hamper the cultivation of paddy, mangoes and jackfruit, traditionally grown by local residents,” according to an article published by Indian Express.
As per Mongabay, "Refinery prakalp, yei Kokanat ho, kara virodh virodh, kara virodha. (The refinery project that’s arriving in Konkan, let’s oppose, let’s oppose.)" has been the collective chants of locals from villages of Ratnagiri district.
Sign the petition and urge the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to scrap the Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemical Limited project. Lend your voice to the farmers and fishermen of the region, and also preserve Konkan coast's elegant environment.