Panaji, Nov 9 (IANS) The ongoing campaign by opposition and civil society groups against the proposed deforestation of protected reserve forests near Mollem village in south Goa, making way for three Central government projects, has drawn the attention of Bollywood actors, too.
Former Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, said the forests near Mollem, which are Goa’s “green lung” must be preserved.
“Prime Minister Modi has waxed eloquent over his love for nature while at the same time he is taking measures to destroy the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park. This is sheer hypocrisy. The green lungs of Goa must be saved #SaveMollem,” tweeted Congress leader Ramesh.
Bollywood celebrities such as actresses Richa Chadha, Dia Mirza and actor Randeep Hooda have tweeted in support of the protests.
Goa Congress President Girish Chodankar, whose party has opposed the deforestation, thanked Ramesh for his support.
“Thank [email protected]_Ramesh Ji for your support to the #SaveMollem #SaveMollemFromDestruction #OnlyGoaSayNoToCoal. As Minister of @moefcc, you have constantly considered the environment, ecology of Goa, at the forefront of your agenda on everything else. Folded hands @INCGoa @INCIndia,” Chodankar tweeted.
Nearly 50,000 trees in and around Mollem village are slotted for felling for the multiple Central government projects which include expansion of railway lines and highways and drawing new power transmission lines spread across protected forests in and around Mollem village.
The projects have been cleared by the National Board for Wildlife in April this year. Civil society groups and all opposition parties in the state have opposed the projects which, they allege, would turn Goa into a coal corridor transporting coal imported into the Mormugao Port Trust, Goa’s only major port, to steel mills in Karnataka’s Bellary district.
“Whether Goa, Kashmir or Aarey, if we destroy our remaining forest cover (already too little for a country the size of India), we will die. For instance, when floods arrive, it will not check your Aadhaar card or political affiliation before taking your life,” Chadha tweeted.
“Let’s stand with Goans protesting the proposed loss of 70k trees and destruction of biodiversity hub in #Mollem #Tiger habitat for doubling the railway line to turn Goa into a coal transporting hub instead. Why not go around the eco-sensitive zone? #SaveMollem,” Hooda tweeted.