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Won't proceed with Barsu refinery project without locals' consent: Shinde

Police used tear gas in Barsu and Solgaon villages in Rajapur tehsil to disperse the protesters who are opposing the refinery

Won't proceed with Barsu refinery project without locals' consent: Shinde

Press Trust of India Mumbai

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Friday said the proposed refinery project at Barsu village in Ratnagiri district will not be implemented without the local people's consent, and appealed for calm in the area. Earlier in the day, police used tear gas in Barsu and Solgaon villages in Rajapur tehsil to disperse the protesters who are opposing the refinery, and detained Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Vinayak Raut.
"A former chief minister himself had suggested the Barsu site to the Union government. After losing the CM's post, he is opposing the project. One can not have such double standards," Shinde told reporters in Mumbai, apparently referring to Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray whose party is now backing the section of villagers opposing the refinery.
"We are a people's government and we are not against them. We will not proceed without the local people's consent,' the chief minister added. Shinde also claimed that more than 70 percent of locals support the project as it will generate employment. "We will explain the benefits of the project to the remaining 30 percent who are opposing it," he said, adding that there should be no politics on the issue. Police detained Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Vinayak Raut at Barsu village after he joined the protesters in the afternoon. He was released in the evening, officials said. Besides, as many as 167 protesters were apprehended. They would be produced in the Rajapur court on Saturday, police said. "The police asked the protesters, who have been agitating since the last four days in Barsu-Solgaon to return home. But as they refused to budge, the police personnel started evicting them," said an official. Police also used tear gas to disperse protesters from the site, the official said.
Two companies of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), around 1,000 police constables and 120 officers were deployed at the protest site. Meanwhile, NCP leader Ajit Pawar said the government should take locals into confidence and handle the issue sensitively.
Industries minister Uday Samant told him that not a single house or village would be displaced due to the project, Pawar said.
Chief Minister Shinde had spoken to NCP chief Sharad Pawar over the issue, and the latter gave him some suggestions, he said. On Uddhav Thackeray's alleged U-turn, Ajit Pawar said though he had written a letter to the Centre recommending the Barsu site, now he has taken a stand that his party will support the local people.
"The protest against any project is justified if the project is detrimental to the region or if there is any danger to the coming generations, but if the project is beneficial and brings financial prosperity, it should be seen from that angle also," the NCP leader added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Apr 29 2023 | 7:37 AM IST

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