The mega refinery project at Ratnagiri could be in cold storage for now but the script could change after the national elections in May.

“Politics has prevailed for now but this is only a temporary setback,” said an industry source familiar with the project.
Earlier this week, the feuding BJP and Shiva Sena had agreed to scrap the refinery’s originally planned location at Nanar in coastal Maharashtra as one of the conditions for coming together in the elections.
This was not entirely unexpected. The site has been in the eye of a storm for over a year now with locals opposed to the idea of a refinery coming up in an environmentally-sensitive region.
This is also not the first time that such a project has been conceived in Ratnagiri. Over two decades earlier, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and Oman Oil Company had explored the idea of setting up a refinery in this belt but shelved the proposal eventually.
More recently, HPCL toyed with the idea of relocating its Mumbai refinery to Ratnagiri since it was in the middle of a residential area. But, this was put on hold since it was quite apparent that there would be delays associated with environmental clearances.
In the case of this 60 million tonne refinery, where Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) are the lead promoters with 25 per cent equity each, the intent is to make it a reality given the energy needs of the country and the challenges ahead with Bharat Stage-VI emission norms in 2020. The public sector trio of IndianOil, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and HPCL will account for the balance 50 per cent stake. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by 2025.
The election results will clearly have a bearing on the pace of completion. Assuming that there is no change in the political equations, a coastal location in Maharashtra will be persevered with as top priority.
Whether Nanar can still be reclaimed is a million dollar question though this will need a lot of persuasive skills and generous compensation payouts.
The biggest challenge is the size of the refinery which will kick off with 40 mt in the first phase before reaching its optimal capacity of 60 mt. This means that there needs to be enough land available to accommodate such a gigantic project.
It remains to be seen if alternative locations can also fit the bill. Clearly, the lead promoters are willing to wait but what if there is no progress even after many months? After all, the case of HPCL’s Rajasthan project being in limbo for five years now is largely due to a result of changes in the State government.
The silver lining in the cloud is that oil companies from West Asia are clearly bullish on India. There have been reports of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation keen on participating in BPCL’s Bina refinery where Oman Oil is already a partner. Likewise, both Aramco and Adnoc would like to make the most of what India’s energy economy has to offer in the coming years.
Courtesy: thehindubusinessline
Zee Marathi’s suspense thriller Marathi show “Ratris Khel Chale” went off air on 22nd November 2016.
Based in Konkan, the story revolved round one Naik family with a lot of mystery. What kept the audience glued to the Television screens is the puzzling tale.

The Naik bungalow located at Akeri, near Kudal was always an attraction spot for people travelling via Mumbai-Goa Highway. But since almost two years, the bungalow was missed as the Naik family bid us good bye in 2016.
But, there’s good news for all Ratris Khel Chale fans!
The shoot for part 2 of Maharshtra’s favourite series has already commenced.
There’s no revelation with respect to the cast of the show. Whether the cast is same or different is kept a secret though according to the reports, the timing is the same i.e. 10:30 pm.
The artists in Ratris Khel Chale managed to impress the audience with their acting skills.
The official date of airing the first episode of part 2 is not yet declared but we assume the show will go on air by December.
Are you excited to witness the horror drama once again?
Stay tuned as we bring to you more about this show. 
Religious monuments in the Konkan region on the western coastline of the country do not fall under the protection list of the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI), Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said today.

He was replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha on whether the government planned to include religious places like Ganapati temple in Konkan, Keshavraj temple and Vyagreshawar temples, among others in the central list of ASI, which conserves over 3,500 monuments across the country.

The Minister said that as per Maharashtra government, the temples date back to late medieval period, but due to frequent changes and repairs by trusts and religious organisations, they have lost relevance.

He said there was a process for bringing monuments under the ASI list, which includes notification of more than 100- year old monuments in the Gazette of India and objections are sought from people. These are notified after two months in the protected monuments category.

Sharma said currently, there were 22 such monuments which were ready to be brought under conserved list.

In reply to another query, he said the historic Pandharpur temple in Maharashtra was of much religious importance and if the state government forwarded any proposal, the Centre could take a call on it.

He also said that spiritual tourism was an important segment of tourism and Pandharpur was of much significance.

Courtesy: Business Standard

Beach-hopping could soon become a trend across Konkan as the government of Maharashtra has decided to develop tourist jetties in order to boost the development of coastal tourism infrastructure. Some of the locations identified for the project include — Kashid; Diveagar, (Raigad district); Underi (in the Mumbai harbour); Vengurla; Vijaydurg (Sindhudurg); Suvarnadurg; Bhatye; Purnagad, (Ratnagiri), Durgadi (near Kalyan) and Belapur in Navi Mumbai.

The project will also boost the hospitality industry and tourism development in nearby areas. "This can be used for boat cruises and water transport. We are collaborating with the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). The MMB will construct these jetties with funding from the Sagarmala Project," said Vikram Kumar, CEO, Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB). Kumar said that with timely approvals, work on the project was likely to begin in October.

"Each jetty is expected to cost between Rs 8 to 10 crore and each site will get a jetty and terminal building. Some sites have been approved while permissions for remaining locations is under consideration," said an official. "These locations could also be used for water sports, docking houseboats, boating and passenger transport."

The project also covers areas around forts like Vijaydurg and locations like Diveagar, — popular tourist destinations. Private operators can also use these jetties to launch water-based tourist services.

Maharashtra has a 720-km coastline, including 114 km in Mumbai, 127 km in Thane and Palghar, 122 km in Raigad, 237 km in Ratnagiri and 120 km in Sindhudurg. The state also has two major ports namely — Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).

However, it has not explored the potential of its coastline in terms of developing facilities like passenger water transport ports, marinas and captive jetties. It has only a few operational RoRo services like Dabhol-Dhopawe in the Dabhol creek, Dighi-Agardanda (Rajpuri creek), Jaigad- Tavsal (Jaigad creek) and Vesavi-Bangmandla (Bankot creek).

Courtesy: DNA


E-commerce websites and tourist attraction sites emerged as the two most searched items by passengers using free Wi-Fi internet service at Konkan
Railway stations, a senior official said on Friday. There were "hardly any reports" of passengers using the service to access porn on the internet, the official added.

The Wi-Fi service is available at 28 stations on the Konkan route since its inauguration on May 21 last year, is a joint effort of Konkan Railway (KRCL) and broadband and internet service provider Joister, he added.

"Since its launch, over 2.92 lakh users have registered with Joister Infoserve Pvt. Ltd and have been availing the free Wi-Fi service," the official said.
"Passengers at Konkan Railway stations use the free Wi-Fi service to search for places in the Konkan belt that are worth visiting. This is followed by e-commerce portals. Websites connected with academics is also on the list of searches and so are employment sites," the official said. The list is the result of a joint internal study of the Wi-Fi service carried out by KRCL and Joister Infoserve, he said.

"We hardly have any report of porn sites being watched using our Wi-Fi services," he said. Joister chairman and managing director, Nikunj Kampani, said that it was good to know that the service was proving helpful to passengers. "We aim to transform India into a digitally empowered economy. We want to work hand in hand to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mantra of a digital India," he said.

He added that the firm, which provides free Wi-Fi internet services to several police establishments in the state, was now planning to launch them in rural areas of Maharashtra.


From now on, mango produced only within the Konkan region of Maharashtra will be called Hapus (also known as Alp- honso mango), which is conside- red a superior variety of the fruit, with great demand worldwide. The districts included at Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Raigad. The decision was taken by the Geographical Indications (GI) registrar in Mumbai, while hearing a petition filed by mango traders and agricultural research institutes from Konkan on Thursday.

A GI tag gives a regional identity to a product. It is a name that corresponds to products from a particular region. Only producers in that particular area can use the GI tagged name for their produce. It is done under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act. Other popular products that have been GI tagged in India earlier include Darjeeling tea, Chanderi sarees, Coorg oranges.

The registry of GI, Mumbai, rejected individual applications filed by four producers of Alphonso mangoes in Konkan to patent their produce as Hapus. The petitioners included Dapoli university, Kokan Hapus Udpadak Sangh, Ratnagiri Hapus Udpadak Sangh, and Devgargh Hapus Udpadak Sangh.

After hearing the applications, the Controller General of Patents, Design and Trade Marks, Om Prakash Gupta then suggested instead of GI tagging separate names, all mangoes from Konkan will get the Hapus tag. It will be formally given after applicants submit a fresh application.

Gupta, who is also registrar of GI, on Thursday said, “The word Hapus cannot be GI tagged under separate names. It then becomes generic and loses its purpose of patent. I suggested the petitioners at the hearing to GI tag Hapus from the geographical western coast of Maharashtra, that will be Konkan Maharashtra. They have filed their applications again with this correction.”

Gupta also suggested that if any region within Konkan wants to give their produce an exclusive name, they can pe-fix or suffix the names of their region to the tag — for example, Devgad Hapus, Ratnagiri Hapus, Kokan Hapus. The mangoes from Devgad are popular in Mumbai.

Courtesy: HT

The state government, in its annual budget, has laid substantial emphasis on tourism, especially in the picturesque Konkan region.

From buying a battery-operated submarine for underwater tourism at Sindhudurg to developing a new tourist place in Ratnagiri to an annual festival at Nandurbar, various initiatives were announced in the budget.

The Ganpatipule temple in Ratnagiri, with its beaches and forests, will be developed as a tourist destination and a budget of Rs79 crore is allotted for the same. The nearby Machal area in Ratnagiri is also being developed as a tourist destination.
According to the minister of state for finance, Deepak Kesarkar, who also represents the area, the government wants to take advantage of the uniqueness of Konkan. “We have a unique underwater environment at Ninati Rock in Sidhadurg district. India’s first battery operated submarine will be made available at Sindhudurg. This will attract large number of domestic and international tourists and will give rise to employment,” said Kesarkar.

With Konkan, the state government has also approved plans to develop Ramtek, a religious place, with its association with Lord Ram and allotted Rs150 crore for this purpose. A fossils museum at Sironcha in Gadchiroli district is on the cards as well. Similarly, a Chetak festival would be organised annually at Shahada in Nandurbar district.

Tourism experts have commended the government for focussing on tourism. “Maharashtra is one unique state where we can have tourism based on archaeology, history, wildlife, heritage and religious themes,” said Subhash Motwani, director, Namaste Tourism. However, he said that the government needs also manage infrastructure, safety and cleanliness.

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), welcomed the move. “We need to take a holistic view instead of a piece meal approach. Tourism will boost both the local economy and also generate employment for the local population,” said Dlip Datwani, president, HRAWI.

Courtesy: HT

In the coming years, you may not need to dive into the Arabian Sea off the Konkan coast to catch a glimpse of the glorious coral reefs there. Giving a big boost to tourism in the Konkan belt, the state budget has allocated Rs 49 crore to acquire a battery-operated submarine, which will let tourists enjoy the marine life while sitting in closed cabins.

Minister of state for finance Deepak Kesarkar said, “One of the major projects to promote tourism will be a battery-operated submarine in Sindhudurg. Tourists can go deep into the sea and view the coral biodiversity in the submarine. A detailed project report will be prepared by December 2018.”
The state government has also kept aside Rs 10 crore to restore Sindhudurg Fort, Rs 20 crore for Ganpatipule beautification and Rs 22 crore for conservation of laterite stone paintings across Konkan. The around 400-year-old paintings will undergo massive conservation programme.
The Konkan economy is dependent on tourism and farming, and the state government has set aside Rs 100 crore for cashew and mango farming. Taking cue from Kerala and Goa, the state will also promote coir industry in Konkan and Rs 10 crore budgetary support has been provided for the same.

Courtesy: TOI