Minister’s meeting with Uddhav fuels speculation of oil refinery talks

Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Minister of Steel Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday held a meeting with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence, raising speculation of a possible discussion on the multi-billion dollar oil refinery project in Maharashtra, which was earlier opposed by the Sena.

“Met @ShivSena Chief, Shri Uddhav Thackeray and discussed about working together for a more prosperous & developed Maharashtra. Stressed on how Maharashtra can play a stellar role in fulfilling Hon. PM Shri @narendramodi’s aim of making India a 5 trillion dollar economy,” Mr. Pradhan tweeted after the meeting.

No official reaction from either side was given over the meeting. Maharashtra Industries Minister and Sena leader Subhash Desai was present at Matoshri when the meeting was held.

“I have no idea about the discussion between both the leaders as I was not part of the meeting. Mr. Pradhan and Uddhavji held a private conversation and I am not aware of the content,” Mr. Desai said. When asked whether the Union Minister had come to mellow down the Sena’s opposition to the oil refinery project, Mr. Desai said he is not in a position to comment on it.

A text message to Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray seeking information went unanswered.

Last week, in a written reply in the Assembly, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the City and Industrial Development Corporation is developing an integrated industrial cluster at 40 villages in Alibaug, Murud, Roha and Shrivardhan tehsils of Raigad district on 13,409.52 hectares of land. His reply is seen as the government’s decision to move India’s largest investment project, a ₹3 lakh crore refinery to be built in coordination with Saudi Arabia’s Aramco on the State’s coastline, to Raigad, months after scrapping its original location at Nanar in the face of local protests.

On April 11, 2018, three Indian public sector oil firms had signed an MoU with Aramco. The Sena too had joined the locals in opposing the project. In February, the BJP, while announcing its alliance with the Sena in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, had promised to shift the project out of Nanar.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 9:56:52 AM |

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