This rail doubling project will be only marginally enhancing the capacity of the most inefficient section of the Indian Railways network passing through the ecologically sensitive biodiversity rich tiger reserve, two wildlife sanctuaries as well as a national park.
The Central Empowered Committee appointed by the Supreme Court of India has said it does not find any justification for undertaking the Indian Railways’ rail double-tracking project in the state of Goa, which is being opposed by environmental experts. In its report on April 23, the panel said a project of this nature will destroy Western Ghats’ fragile eco-system, which is a globally recognized biodiversity hot spot as well as one of the country’s most important wildlife corridors, according to a PTI report. Moreover, the committee in its 110 page report had said that this rail doubling project will be only marginally enhancing the capacity of the most inefficient section of the Indian Railways network passing through the ecologically sensitive biodiversity rich tiger reserve, two wildlife sanctuaries as well as a national park.
The Central Empowered Committee’s report said that in these situations, it is recommended for the consideration of this court to revoke the permission for doubling of the rail track passing through the Western Ghats, which is ecologically sensitive, granted by the standing committee of the NBWL (National Board for Wildlife). Also, objections have been raised by several local groups over three linear projects, including rail double tracking of the South Western Railway line, laying of a power transmission line by the Goa Tamnar Transmission Project Limited (GTTPL) as well as four laning of a national highway (NH).
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According to the report, despite apprehensions that the bio diversity of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary as well as the National Park at Mollem, both situated on the border of Goa-Karnataka would be severely affected, the projects were cleared by the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife. The standing committee was created following an application filed by the Goa Foundation NGO before the Supreme Court, the report added.