Nanar refinery row to intensify Shiv Sena, BJP fight; Uddhav snubs Union minister
Shiv Sena ministers registered their protest with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday and said the party was “kept in the dark” over a MoU signed in connection with the US$44-billion refinery projectUpdated: Jun 28, 2018 12:20 IST
The controversy over the proposed oil refinery at Nanar in Ratnagiri district is likely to intensify the tussle between ruling allies Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), after Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday snubbed the Union petroleum minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, who had sought a meeting to discuss concerns of those opposing the project.
Thackeray, Sena leaders claimed, refused to give Pradhan an appointment.
Sena ministers, meanwhile, registered their protest with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday and said the party was “kept in the dark” over a MoU signed in connection with the US$44-billion refinery project.
Sena, which is part of the BJP-led governments in Maharashtra and at Centre, has opposed the Nanar oil refinery project, saying it is not in the interest of locals and it would destroy the natural splendour of the Konkan belt.
“Attempts were made [by Pradhan] to seek an appointment on two occasions, but Uddhavji refused,” said a senior Sena leader, who did not wish to be named. “He [Uddhav] felt there is no point in holding discussions after they sign MoUs for the project. Whatever discussion would take place will happen at the level of Amit Shah and Uddhavji.”
State transport minister Diwakar Raote said Sena ministers took objection to the MoU signed between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Saudi Aramco earlier this week to take a stake in the planned refinery. “We were not taken into confidence when the MoU was signed. Instead of stalling the project, the BJP government is expediting it,” said Raote, after the cabinet meeting. “We are not like those people who say one thing and do the opposite. We are capable of dealing with such people.”
Following protests by Sena minister, Fadnavis has called a meeting with industries minister and senior Sena leader Subhash Desai on Thursday. Desai was not present in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
In April, the Sena-controlled industries ministry had unilaterally cancelled the notification for acquisition of land for the project. Desai had given a letter to Fadnavis asking him to denotify the land earmarked for the project, and without waiting for a decision, directed the state industries secretary to begin the process of denotification. The government is yet to take a call on it.
Meanwhile, in a related development, former chief minister Narayan Rane, who is now a BJP MP, said he will continue to oppose the project.
First Published: Jun 28, 2018 00:39 IST