Mumbai: It seems that the petrochemical refinery worth Rs 3 lakh crore in Rajapur tehsil of Ratnagiri district is not enough for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, though the project has led to relations between the party and its ally Shiv Sena being strained further. The Fadnavis government is also pushing another controversial Jaitapur nuclear power project in the same district.
Konkan remains a strong hold of Sena and the state government’s twin projects — petrochemical refinery and Jaitapur N-plant are likely to escalate the cold war between the ruling partners. The Union government’s act of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Arabia-based chemical giant Aramco for setting up a mega chemical refinery at Nanar in Ratnagiri has left the Shiv Sena furious. The party has been opposing the proposed refinery since a year anticipating that the BJP would respect the locals’ strong sentiments against displacement. However, the
MoU has come as a blow to the party. As if it is not enough the Fadnavis government has been pushing for Jaitapur nuclear power project, another controversial project to be set up by a French entity, in the same district. Sena, which is leading an agitation against the 0,000 MW power project, has questioned the safety of the project.
According to a senior official from energy department, “A meeting between representatives of French state controlled-utility EDF (Electricite de France or Electricity of France) and CM Devendra Fadnavis opened new window for the Jaitapur project.
“During the meeting with EDF, which has taken over the controversial company Areva, they argued that their nuclear reactor was safe and has been tested at one undisclosed plant in Europe. They also invited the government officials to visit the plant and inspect its safety. They claim that the reactor has been designed taking lessons from the nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 which had adverse impact on the locals’ health,” claimed the official.
He added that the land acquisition for the Jaitapur project is almost over. “The residents were opposing the project because Areva’s design of nuclear reactor was untested. Shiv Sena is likely to continue its opposition to the project in view of the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly elections in 2019,” the official claimed.