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Refinery project row: Raj Thackeray appeals to people in Konkan to be alert while selling land

RATNAGIRI: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Saturday said petroglyphs were found at Barsu in Ratnagiri district, the focal point for the protest by a section of people against a proposed mega oil refinery project, and appealed to local people not to sell their land.

Addressing a rally at Khed town in Ratnagiri district, Thackeray also claimed Sharad Pawar really wanted to step down as Nationalist Congress Party president and wondered whether the senior politician changed his decision due to his nephew Ajit Pawar’s behaviour.

He questioned why projects such as refineries do not go to states like Kerala and Goa which thrive on tourism. ”Does Konkan lack in anything? Kerala thrives on what Konkan has…A state thrives on tourism. These projects do not go to Kerala and Goa. We do not respect what nature has given us,” he said and added that the land of the people from the Konkan region is purchased at throwaway prices and being sold at a premium for setting up projects. A section of local people is opposing the Barsu refinery on the grounds that it will harm the fragile biodiversity of Konkan and also hit their livelihood.

Notably, Raj Thackeray’s estranged cousin and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray had also opposed the oil refinery, saying it should be moved to Gujarat.

Speaking on recent developments in NCP, Raj Thackeray said, “I think he (Pawar) really wanted to step down. But when he announced his decision, the way Ajit Pawar behaved. He (Pawar) saw everything and he must have thought that ‘I have just resigned and he (Ajit Pawar) behaves this way’, tomorrow he will also tell me to keep quiet”.

On May 2, Ajit Pawar was the only leader in the NCP camp who openly supported senior Pawar’s decision to step down at a time the entire party appealed to him to reconsider.

As NCP workers refused to vacate the auditorium in Mumbai after Pawar’s surprise announcement on Tuesday and emotions ran high, Ajit Pawar tried to control the situation by chiding party workers. He lost his cool on a couple of occasions. Pawar senior on Friday decided to rescind his decision to resign as NCP chief, owing to pressure from party leaders and cadres.

Source: Press Trust of India

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