Summer is scorching so is the recent buzz and politics behind Nanar refinery project. It has many unknown secrets. From political corruption and conspiracy to spreading confidential information. Even fooling Nanar farmers to acquire their lands at low rates.
This story is about Nanar village in Rajapur Tehsil of (Ratnagiri) Maharashtra. A few investors from Gujarat had caught the interest of mango farming in konkan area. They purchased the area for 3lakhs per hectare(in 2016). However in 2018, they utilized the land for a refinery project which was managed by Saudi-Aramco and the Maharashtra government.
As it will lead to a huge increase in pollution levels in the Konkan region. This will deteriorate their quality air and health. With that they’ll end up having no source of livelihood left except working in the refinery. With that they felt cheated as each investor (who bought that land for farming mango trees) has made a profit of Rs 97 lakh (Rs 9.7 million) per hectare.If this project takes place approximately 42,000 people will have to shift from 17 villages in the area.
Why it is a big deal for government?
India needs investment to the tune of 300 billion dollars in the next 10 years to double its oil refining capacity. Last week, a consortium of the three oil companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) for setting up the project. When completed by 2022, the Rs3-trillion complex at Nanar – West Coast Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited – will be the world’s biggest single-location oil refinery project with a capacity to process 60 million tonnes annually.
Consequences of Nanar project:
- Scientists say if this refinery, which will be the world’s largest refinery —comes into existence, it will pollute areas as much as 350 km away. Therefore, we are opposing it.
- The Paris climate deal signed in December 2015 clearly says such projects will cause global warming and must be stopped.
- 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.
- World-renowned Devgad Alphonso mango trees will lose their existence on the region.
- It will also destroy 13 lakh alphonso mango trees, seven lakh cashew trees as well as eight crore trees in the jungles nearby.
- Oil refineries produce petroleum. Environmental impacts of having an oil refinery are mainly negative. This is due to the toxicity of petroleum which contributes to air pollution, acid rain, and various illnesses in humans. Petroleum also fuels climate change, due to the increased greenhouse gas emissions in its extraction, refinement, transport and consumption phases.
- Climate point of view: The combustion of petroleum causes an increased amount of carbon dioxide emissions. As well as other greenhouse gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrates. This leads to increased scorching temperature and melting glaciers.
“It(Government) says this project will improve our lifestyle, but what about our lives?” says Ashok Walam, who heads the Konkan Refinery Virodhi Sangharsh Committee, an organisation opposed to the refinery.
The investors have only 8% of land on their side to practically set up they need 75 per cent of farmers agreement on the project— according to the (land acquisition) law of 2013, land is life for the one who lives on it since their childhood.
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