Oil refinery sparks protests

Refinery prakalp, yei Kokanat ho, kara virodh virodh, kara virodha.(The refinery project that’s arriving in Konkan, let’s oppose, let’s oppose.)

This was the festive chant ringing door-to-door across villages in the Rajapur taluka of Ratnagiri district during the Ganpati festival this September.

Each year, people from the district, working in Mumbai, make their way homeward to Rajapur during the festive season. This year, the celebrations were flavoured with opposition to the proposed oil refinery, set to be the world’s largest single-location refinery complex.

Many of the young people who had come home, together with the local residents, coordinated protests against the refinery. Each hamlet and wadi in the Rajapur taluka stood united, hoisting opposition banners and chanting protest slogans, alongside bhajans(devotional songs) throughout the five-day religious festival.

A group of villagers performing bhajans specially written for awareness and protest about the oil refinery were highlighted at his Ganesh festival.
Geoglyphs of the laterite plateau showcase a variety of animals in the rock art like fish.
Geoglyphs of the laterite plateau showcase a variety of animals in rock art like parrots.

A total of 11 villages are set to be affected by the project. Among these are Barasu, Solgaon, Goval, Devache Gothane, Shivane Khurd, Sogamwadi, Rautwadi, and others that are located around the Arjuna river in the Rajarpur taluka.

With a total investment of Rs. three lakh crore (Rs. three trillion), the refinery complex will be spread across 15,000 acres. Once built, it is projected to process 1.2 million barrels of crude oil per day, translating to around 60 million metric tonnes per annum.

Publisher: Mongabay

Date: 17 Nov 2022

Link to the story: Read More

The diverse laterite plateau with flora and fauna.
Fisherwomen can be seen busy drying the fish at the beachside at Sakrenatye village
A village meeting in which men are discussing further strategies of protest when everybody from the village has arrived for the Ganesh festival.

Coming together under the banner of the Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samitian opposition committee, Rajapur taluka’s residents have raised several concerns over the project, one of which they claim is that this is a highly polluting ‘red category’ project which the government claims is ‘green’.

Apart from health-related issues caused by the project, villagers are concerned that the polluting gases can harm the mango cultivation in the region which witnesses an annual turnover of Rs 2,200 crore (Rs. 22 billion) for the district. They also claim that the project will be a threat to the 30,000-year-old prehistoric geoglyphs, which are art or motifs on stones, gravel, earth and other elements of the landscape.

Geoglyphs have been first recorded across the district in 2015 by naturalist Sudhir Risbud and his team from the Ratnagiri-based NGO Nisargyatri Sanstha. Since then, the team has found a cluster of geoglyphs of over 40 at a single site. They continued exploring and preserving these geoglyphs, discovering over 1,000 spread across the region. Over the years, these geoglyphs, some of them measuring over 30 feet tall, attract thousands of tourists from around the world.