Rahul Gandhi backs locals opposing Nanar refinery
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday extended his support to locals in Nanar who are strongly opposing the proposed refinery project in Ratnagiri district of Konkan region.
Gandhi is also likely to visit the area after the Karnataka assembly polls slated on May 12. Soon after a delegation of Konkan Refinery Sangharsh Samiti (KRSS), headed by Ashok Valam met Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders, state Congress president Ashok Chavan declared he will be visiting Nanar on May 2.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar will also visit Nanar on May 10.
The meeting with Gandhi lasted for more than half an hour during which the delegation, seeking Congress’ support, shared details about how badly they will be affected by the proposed project.
“We informed him that the project has been proposed on a fertile land which is good for horticulture. The villagers are going to lose lakhs of mango orchards, cashewnut and coconut trees, apart from large tracts of fertile land. Moreover, the project will make 50,000 people landless,” said Valam.
“The Congress chief expressed his shock over the proposed refinery and said he and his party fully support us in our fight. The most satisfactory part of the meeting was that he gave us more than half an hour of his busy schedule to discuss all the issues in details,” he added.
The delegation also invited Gandhi to visit Nanar and he assured he would do so after Karnataka assembly elections.
The refinery is likely to turn into a major political issue in Maharashtra. The politics around the refinery heated up after parties such as Shiv Sena, Congress, NCP and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) extended their support to the locals opposing the project. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray recently visited the affected villages.
During the visit, state industries minister and senir Sena leader Subhash Desai had also declared that they have cancelled the notification issued by his department last year for acquiring land for the project. Later, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis clarified that the notification cannot be cancelled by the minister as the decision was required to be approved by a high power committee headed by chief secretary Sumit Mullick.
The project is also cementing the ground for a fresh tussle between the ruling partners with Sena accusing the chief minister of “betraying” the locals since he had earlier said the Centre would not go ahead with the project if the locals were opposed to it.