Panaji, Nov 20 (IANS) Another opposition political party in Goa, the Nationalist Congress Party on Friday formally announced its opposition to the double tracking of the South Western Railway, which is being dubbed as a part of a move to create a coal transportation corridor through the picturesque coastal state.
“We oppose the coal corridor 100 per cent. All people are against it. NCP is also against it,” state president of the NCP Jose Phillip D’Souza told a press conference in Panaji.
“The double tracking project will severely impact people, because it is purely for the purpose of transportation of coal through Goa,” D’Souza said.
Nearly 50,000 trees located in the Western Ghats region of Goa are slotted for felling for the multiple Central government projects, which include expansion of the railway lines and highways and drawing of a new high tension power, spread across protected forests in and around the Mollem village.
The projects have already been cleared by the National Wildlife Board for Wildlife in April this year.
Opposition as well as civil society groups and tourism stakeholders have expressed apprehension that the projects were being 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.
According to Goa government’s Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral currently 10 to 12 million tons of coal was being presently handled at the state’s only major port, the Mormugao Port Trust, through berths handled by the Adani and JSW groups.
He has also assured that the state government was willing to cap or even reduce the existing limit of coal being handled at the port and said that the rail, road and power projects in and around Mollem village had little to do with coal transportation.