Panaji, Dec 8 (IANS) The Goa Congress unit on Tuesday once again reiterated its demand for scrapping the South Western Railway’s (SWR) track doubling project in Goa, saying the railway line largely facilitated coal transportation.
“There are only five passenger trains which operate on the SWR track, the rest of the time only coal trains operate on it,” said Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat at a meeting held in Panaji during the ‘Bharat Bandh’, expressing support for the farmers’ agitation demanding scrapping of the three newly-passed Farm laws.
“Most passenger trains operate along the Konkan Railway track in Goa. If that is the case, then why do we need double-tracking of the SWR at all? Scrap these projects. The ruling BJP government in the state should be sensitive to demands of the people,” Kamat added.
Nearly 50,000 trees in the Western Ghats region of Goa are slotted for felling to facilitate the three Union projects spread across the protected forests in and surrounding the Mollem village in the Western Ghats region. One of them involves the double-tracking of the SWR line from Castle Rock railway station in Karnataka to the Tinai Ghat station in Goa.
The two other Union projects — which have been cleared by the National Board for Wildlife in April 2020 but have faced opposition — is the four-laning of NH4A highway and a power project aimed at drawing 400 KVA power lines from Karnataka and construction of a substation.
Opposition parties, civil society groups and tourism bodies have expressed apprehension that the three Union projects were pushed at an “express pace” to facilitate movement of coal imported through the Mormugao Port Trust facility in Goa to steel mills in Karnataka’s Bellary district and nearby areas.