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Maha: People must be taken into confidence, Uddhav says on Barsu refinery plan

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Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said he had suggested Barsu as an alternative site for the refinery complex proposed in Nanar, both in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra’s Konkan region, but would have moved ahead with it only after taking the people there in confidence had he continued as chief minister.

Thackeray, whose Maha Vikas Aghadi government fell after a rebellion in June last year by his cabinet colleague Eknath Shinde, who went on to become CM, also warned he would extract revenge for his ouster.

Residents of Barsu in Rajapur tehsil in Ratnagiri, some 400 kilometres from Mumbai, have been opposing the setting up of a mega refinery-petrochemical complex at an estimated cost of several thousand crore rupees claiming it would destroy the ecology of the coastal region.

The Shiv Sena (UBT), Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress have been supporting these residents and have said the state government must proceed only after all the fears of the people are allayed.

Addressing the 55th annual general meeting of the Bharatiya Kamgar Sena, the trade union wing of the Shiv Sena (UBT), Thackeray said, “I did suggest Barsu as an alternative site to Nanar due to opposition from the people. My government was toppled or else I would have demanded that the project be explained to the local population.” He said people will have to be told about employment generation and benefits of a green refinery, but questioned “if it is a green refinery, then why is police resorting to high-handedness?” Thackeray asked why such projects were being imposed on Maharashtra and said Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should have visited Barsu and explained the details of the refinery complex to the local population.

“If you wanted to take my suggestion (of Barsu), then why did you topple my government? The manner in which I was betrayed and my government toppled, I would extract revenge,” Thackeray said in a warning to the ruling Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party.

“The “mashal” (flaming torch which is the Shiv Sena (UBT) symbol) will wipe out injustice. Allurements are short-term but relationships are everlasting,” Thackeray asserted.

He also said the governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra were anti-labour, adding that they need to be sensitive to the needs and issues of workers.

Slamming the Maharashtra government over the alleged exodus of industries from the state, Thackeray said Airbus (military transport aircraft), Vedanta Foxconn (semiconductor chip manufacturing), bulk drug park (mega pharmaceutical hub) had moved out of the state earlier.

“Recently, a discussion took place with a Taiwanese firm for setting up a shoe making unit but we hear that has now shifted to Tamil Nadu. In the two-and-half-years of MVA rule, 25 big projects worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore were proposed. Many units started work while many were taken away (to other states),” Thackeray alleged.

Slamming the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, the Shiv Sena (UBT) chief alluded to the clash over the collegium system and said “if these people (ruling BJP) start appointing judges, from whom should we seek justice?”


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