Mumbai, (The Hindu): Over 200 farmers and fishermen from the Konkan region assembled at Azad Maidan on Wednesday to protest the proposed West Coast refinery. Later, a 20-member delegation met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, and claimed after the meeting that they had been verbally assured that the refinery project would be scrapped.
The meeting was confirmed by sources in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), who made it clear that the CM had said the project would not be forced upon locals. The meeting was facilitated by Narayan Rane, a Congress rebel and former CM who is now the BJP’s Rajya Sabha candidate from the State.
Ashok Walam, president, Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi, claimed that the delegation had been assured by the CM that the refinery will be scrapped. “We didn’t receive any written assurance. But we can understand that the refinery powas passed by the centre, so it is not possible for the CM to assure anything. But as he can see the discontent amongst the people I am sure he will work towards cancelling it.”
“For now, we believe in our CM’s word and will not protest further. But this is not the end of it. If we see that there are no steps being taken, I will fast unto death, which was my initial plan till he gave us the assurance,” Mr. Walam added.
The West Coast refinery, also known as the green refinery, is a joint venture by HPCL, BPCL and IOCL worth $40 billion. The petrochemical refinery is expected to be commissioned by 2022.
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