MUMBAI: A delegation of Maharashtra Congress leaders, which toured Nanar in Ratnagiri where the government plans to set up a mega-refinery, has said that the project should be scrapped as it was harmful to the environment and people were opposed to it.
Delegation members, who were at Nanar on April 19-20, said that the refinery project would affect 15 villages in Rajapur taluka and two villages in Devgad taluka.
"The homes of 30,000 people, 65 temples and eight mosques, spread across an area of 15,000 hectares, would go because of the project," members of the delegation said.
"It will also destroy 13 lakh alphonso mango trees, seven lakh cashew trees as well as eight crore trees in the jungles nearby," MPCC general secretary, Rajan Bhosale, who was the coordinator of the delegation, told PTI.
Explaining the loss the project would cause to the livelihoods of local residents, Bhosale said that a single mango tree resulted in an income in the range of Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 annually.
"Those affected by the project would get compensation as per the rules. But what about their annual income? Some 4,000 families dependent on fishing would also lose their livelihood. What about them?" he asked.
He said that farmers in the belt were prosperous and together employ about one lakh migrant labourers in their farms and the project would affect this facet of the agricultural economy in the area as well.
"The government is trying to acquire land from local residents under the old MIDC Act by promulgating an ordinance," he alleged.
Bhosale said that in 2013, the Congress-led UPA government had enacted a law which mandated that land could be acquired for such projects only if 75 per cent of the owners consented and the land itself was barren.
"But, in this case, the state government has promulgated an ordinance under the MIDC Act, 1960 to acquire land," he said.
Stating that the project would not take off if the ordinance is withdrawn, Bhosale hit out at the Shiv Sena alleging that the party was doing nothing about getting the ordinance withdrawn despite having the Industries portfolio in the state government.
"Subhash Desai (of the Shiv Sena) is Industries Minister and he is doing nothing to get the ordinance withdrawn.
The Sena is fooling the people by publicly stating that it opposes the setting up of the refinery at Nanar," Bhosale said.
He informed that 92 per cent of local land owners had accepted the compensation paid to them for land acquisition for the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant.
The JNPP comprises six nuclear reactors with a capacity of 1,650 MW each.
"In the case of Jaitapur, the land acquired is barren," he said.