The ongoing project, which falls under the South Central Railway zone, is being opposed by environmental activists for fear that it will harm the ecology of the region.
Indian Railways’ double-tracking project in the state of Goa is also crucial from the “defence strategic” point of view as it can help meet the logistical needs of the Navy, CM Pramod Sawant told the Assembly on Wednesday. The ongoing project, which falls under the South Central Railway zone, is being opposed by environmental activists for fear that it will harm the ecology of the region. According to a PTI report, the issue was raised by BJP MLA Alina Saldanha, asking about the impact of the project on wildlife. Opposition members demanded discussion on it for half an hour, but the demand was rejected by Speaker Rajesh Patnekar.
The CM, in a written reply to Saldanha’s question, said to meet logistical requirements of the Naval Command (which has a base in Goa) in emergency, the project was important from the “defence strategic point of view”. The railway route’s double-tracking is being carried out from Castle Rock, Karnataka to Margao, Goa. The Chief Minister also said to minimise its ecological impact, the Environment Impact Assessment report prepared by Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science, has suggested some measures. In order to reduce accidental killing of wildlife, various mitigation steps such as using experienced train drivers, use of signage for workers/staff, sensitisation of train drivers, joint patrolling, regulation of garbage disposal, etc., are proposed, he said.
To facilitate the crossing by animals, eight underpasses have been proposed, the CM said. On Chief Wildlife Warden’s recommendations, the authorities of Indian Railways have been instructed to explore the option of putting gates on tunnels opened through some electronically controlled or mechanical switches before the arrival of trains for minimising the risk of trapping wild animals in tunnels. It is expected that the double-tracking project will increase the number of passengers using the railway route from 6,000-7,000 per day at present to 54,000-65,000, the CM added.