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Proposed petroleum refinery in Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra, India


On 14 June 2017,  oil firms IOC, BPCL and HPCL signed an agreement to jointly set up India's biggest refinery, with a capacity of 60 million tonne at Babulwadi, Taluka Rajapur in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra at a cost of USD 40 billion [1]. Speaking on the occasion, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said though India is the world's third largest energy consumer after US and China, its per capita energy consumption is one-fourth of the world average. "Domestic oil demand is likely to climb to 500 million tonnes by 2040. Against this, our domestic refining capacity currently is 230-235 million tonnes".  [7].

Read more at:  Indian Oil Corp (IOC) will be the lead partner with 50 per cent stake while Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) will take 25 per cent stake each [4]. The government is hoping to commission the refinery in 2022, and the land acquisition process has already started. In May, 15,000 acres in Rajapur and 1,000 acres in Devgad were declared as industrial zones under the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation Act, and in September, the process of acquiring land from farmers was started by issuing individual notices [3]. The project needs 6,018 hectares of land from around 3,000 farmers in 16 villages in two districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg [5]. Twenty-eight per cent of the 16,000 hectares earmarked for the refinery is irrigated and under mango and cashew cultivation [6].  The activists of the NGO, Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti (Committee for Opposing Destructive Projects in Konkan), who had been working to prevent the construction of a nuclear plant for the last 9 years, are also the ones who are most actively opposing the refinery project since 2016. Satyajit Chavan, Convenor, Committee for Opposing Destructive Projects in Konkan, in an interview in May, 2016 said that, ‘The refinery project will have a devastating effect on the local ecosystem. The effluents from the refinery will kill the local marine life. It will have a huge impact on the fisheries-dependent local community. A series of meetings have been held with the locals in Tavsal and they have been opposing the refinery vehemently. More protest meetings would be soon held.’ Chavan also said the Committee is not opposed to industrialisation. Automobile, forgings, and other industrial projects do not have a heavy environmental footprint; such projects are welcome, but not a refinery. A resident of Tavsal, Ajay Parab, said people want their area to progress but the pollution from the refinery will destroy the air and water quality in the region. Environmental activist Girish Raut said the first impact of the refinery will be on the intertidal zone — a critical interface between terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Rising pollution in the zone can destroy the whole marine ecosystem, he said [2].

On September 9, 2017, about 3,500 locals held a rally against the project in Rajapur taluka. “The government has misled farmers and villagers to make them accept the project and to acquire their land for free. This so-called green refinery shall be the most harmful project in the history of all projects. The refinery shall release azardous gases like SO2 (sulphur dioxide) NOx (nitrogen oxides) and carbon dioxide in abundance. In addition, the project will also lead to an increase in particulate suspended matter and oil spills in the Waghotane creek, endangering the life and livelihood of villagers,” said Rajendra Phatarekar, a resident and activist. Ashok Walam, a local farmer, said, “The government has kept us landowners in the dark. It need to understand that an illiterate farmer does not have the ability to completely understand a government notice. The authorities cannot expect us to vacate our land and support them in this destructive project. The proposal claims that the required fresh water will be generated from sea water, which shall destroy the marine life completely, as the process would lead to imbalance in the oxygen level in the sea.” [3] The Shiv Sena political party was also earlier against the refinery as it threatens to destroy the Konkan. “We are going to inform the Chief Minister about our opposition. We want the government to bring clean projects to the green region of Konkan,” State Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam said. However, in July 2017, the farmers came up with 27 demands, including increasing the rate of land being offered to the farmers to Rs. 1 crore a hectare, which is at par with the rate given to Mumbai-Nagpur and Mumbai-Pune expressways [5]. Whether the opposition will be successful in thwarting the project and save the flora and fauna of Konkan, or will the locals accept  higher compensation for allowing the project, only time will tell. 

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Proposed petroleum refinery in Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra, India
State or province:Maharashtra
Location of conflict:Ratnagiri district
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Oil and gas refining
Specific commodities:Crude oil

Project Details and Actors

Project details

This is a joint venture by Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and the Indian Oil Corporation. The proposed refinery cum petrochemical complex will include a refinery which has a capacity of 60 million tonnes (per annum). It is project worth $40 billion dollars. The project requires up to 16,000 hectares of land which is spread across 14 villages, and thus needs the complete displacement of five villages and partial relocation of populations in the others. The project includes a captive 1,500 MW coal power plant, a production facility for plastic and aromatic substances as well as a seawater desalination plant.

Project area:16,000
Level of Investment:40,000,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:3300 households
Start of the conflict:01/01/2016
Company names or state enterprises:Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) from India
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) from India - Part of the joint venture.
Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) from India
Relevant government actors:State Government of Maharastra
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti (Committee for Opposing Destructive Projects in Konkan)

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Waste overflow, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures


Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:It is still too early to tell. The project has been given green signal by the government, but the locals are either completely against it, or demanding higher compensation for land acquisition.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Maharastra Industrial Development Act, 1961

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

2. Article about the different protests and oppositions to the project since 2016

3. Rally of more than 3000 people in protest of the refinery project in September, 2017

4. Stake of each of the company for setting up the refinery.

5. Villagers ask for high compensation for the refinery project.

Opinions are divided on the refinery project

6. Protest against the land acquisition.

7. The Economic Times, IOC, BPCL, HPCL sign agreement to set up $40 billion refinery. Jun 14, 2017.

1. Agreement between IOC, BPCL and HPCL to set up India's biggest refinery

8 Sept. 2016. Maharashtra’s mega refinery, petchem project faces land acquisition hurdle. The Maharashtra government wants IOC, BPCL, HPCL and the oil ministry to reduce the 15,000 acres of land required for the refinery, officials say.

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

The Free Press Journal. Scrap mega refinery proposed in Konkan: Farmers. By PTI | Sep 12, 2017.

Other documents

Pictograph courtesy Telegraph

Picture Courtesy: India Today

Meta information

Contributor:Brototi Roy
Last update15/10/2017



Pictograph courtesy Telegraph


Picture Courtesy: India Today