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Sunday, September 19, 2021

‘Forests are God’s gift to Goa’: Ex-CM Pratapsingh Rane asks govt to re-route linear projects along coastline

The doubling of the railway line from Castle Rock in Karnataka to Kulem in Goa, expanding of a national highway to a four-lane one and the Goa-Tanmar Transmission Project are the three linear projects that have met stiff opposition from environmentalists, locals and NGOs.

By: Express News Service | Panaji |
July 30, 2021 9:43:47 am
According to sources, the train does not usually stop at Lalru Railway station but generally slows down here before resuming speed for Ambala railway station. (Representational)

Senior Congress legislator and former chief minister Pratapsingh Rane on Thursday asked the Pramod Sawant-led BJP government as to why the linear projects of Goa can’t be re-routed along the coast instead of cutting through the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary (BMWS) and the Mollem National Park (MNP).

A day after opposition MLAs raised the issue of the Railway’s laying down a double track from Kulem in Goa to Castle Rock in Karnataka, Rane said, “Why couldn’t linear projects be along the coastline? That would not destroy the forests and the wildlife sanctuary.”

He added, “Our rich forests are God’s gift to Goa.” Rane also suggested a wildlife museum in the state so that students can appreciate Goa’s flora and fauna.

The doubling of the railway line from Castle Rock in Karnataka to Kulem in Goa, expanding of a national highway to a four-lane one and the Goa-Tanmar Transmission Project are the three linear projects that have met stiff opposition from environmentalists, locals and NGOs.

On Wednesday, protests by opposition MLAs rocked the legislative assembly, questioning the government on the double-tracking of the Kulem-Castle Rock railway track — a proposal that was rejected by the Supreme Court’s Central Empowerment Committee in April over environmental concerns.

The committee constituted by the Supreme Court had said in its report of April 23 that it does not find any justification in the doubling of the railway track from Castle Rock Kulem “which will destroy the fragile Eco-system of the Western Ghats which is an internationally recognised Biodiversity hotspot and also one of the most important wildlife corridors of the country”.

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