Protests have erupted against the proposed Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals Project (RRPL) coming up in Maharashtra’s Rajapur taluka with the help of Saudi ARAMCO and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, activists said here on Tuesday.
Over 500 residents of around six villages have taken to the streets against the soil surveys that were due to start which would affect their lands, according to activist Sachin Chavan.
The opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) leaders of Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena (UBT), and local parties have come out in support of the villagers, who apprehend that 20 acres of their land will be taken away for the RRPL project.
NCP’s Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar, Congress Legislative Party Leader Balasaheb Thorat, Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Sanjay Raut and others have urged the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP government to call off the survey in view of the opposition from the villagers.
The police have deployed a massive force of over 1,500, 300 SRP personnel and four platoons of riot control police in and around the villages of Barsu, Goval, Dhopeshwar Varchiwadi-Goval, Rajapur, Khalchiwadi-Goval, Panhale-Tarfe.
Scores of women activists protested on Tuesday by squatting and lying on the roads to stop the survey teams from entering their villages as police attempted to physically lift them aside.
Chavan claimed that over 100 protesters have been either detained or arrested in the past three days, allegedly flouting norms and being produced in distant courts beyond the stipulated time of 24 hours after they are nabbed.
Prohibitory orders have been clamped till May 31 outside the (above) villages to enable the soil testing for the RRPL project, and notices have slapped on many villagers, he added.
Attempting to persuade the villagers to call off their protests, government officials like Vaishali Mane and Sheetal Jadhav held unsuccessful talks with the protesters.
Adding to the government’s woes was the overturning of a police vehicle en route to the protest site in which around 17 personnel were injured but their condition is stable in a local hospital.
The RRPL is promoted by IOCL, BPCL and HPCL and plans to construct the mega-refinery and petrochemical complex with the help of the two Arab giants which have signed a MoU with the government.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)