At the International Energy Forum in Delhi in April, the world’s top oilNSE 1.79 % producer Saudi Aramco inked a preliminary deal to partner with a consortium of Indian players to build a $44 billion refinery and petrochemical project in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri.
The huge project was touted as a gamechanger for both parties – offering India steady fuel supplies and meeting Saudi Arabia’s need to secure regular buyers for its oil. Despite the obvious benefits, though, the prospects for the plan – in the works since 2015 – are growing dimmer by the day.
Thousands of farmers oppose the refinery and are refusing to surrender land, fearing it could damage a region famed for its Alphonso mangoes, vast cashew plantations and fishing hamlets that boast bountiful catches of seafood.
“We earn enough to fulfil our needs and we do not want to surrender our lands for a refinery at any cost,” says Sandesh Desai, standing amid his fruit-laden mango orchard in Nanar, a village in Ratnagiri district, some 400 km (250 miles) south of Mumbai. Read More