The phase III upgradation and expansion project of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd has almost come to a standstill for the last nine days due to the protest by the Project Displaced Families (PDF) of Mangalore Special Economic Zone (MSEZ). The PDFs have blocked men and machinery from entering the refinery worksite. Nine days later the impact is getting more intense as the project is now suffering a one-month delay in commissioning.
A MRPL press release here on Tuesday stated the delay can run up a production loss to the tune of Rs 80 crore per month. Other than this, clearing of storm water drains and desilting have been affected, consequently, threats of water clogging and even flooding in surrounding areas are looming ahead. Worst affected are 17,000-odd contracted labour force that have lost their pay and work and a large number have fled the region out of fear from the protesters.
Contractors who have mobilized heavy equipment and people are suffering huge losses by the day. Trouble erupted after 1,063 job aspirants for MSEZ found that there is a time lag in entering into employment due to the gestation period for industries/companies to set up shop in the MSEZ. This has lead to serious discontent and agitation with matters taking a turn for the worse for MRPL on May 25, when agitators blocked nine over-dimensional cargos.
Though repeated offers and compensation packages have been made by the Project proponents along with MSEZ with the last revised comprehensive package being from the highest office of the state government issued on May 31, the protesters have declined all and are hoping for an even better deal. The MRPL had acquired 252 acres under the domestic tariff rate and the PDF of MRPL Phase III has been rehabilitated, the release adds.