In a press note issued here today, Alina Saldanha, Ex MLA of Cortalim Constituency expressed joy and relief to note that the Honorable Supreme Court has cancelled the clearance given by NBWL for doubling of the SWR track from Tinaighat to Vasco.
The Supreme Court verdict rejecting the double tracking of SWR line from Tinaighat to Vasco has been received with great joy over those who fought for the project.
She recalled, writing to the Central Government (MOEF) as well as to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC ) through the letter dated 5th October, 2020, with a copy to the Honorable Union Minister for Environment – Shri Javadekar, about the destruction the SWR Doubling would have on the people as well as the forests of Goa.
Furthermore, she writes, the bio-diversity of the Western Ghats would have been destroyed and the fragile eco- system would have been lost forever. Not only so, the picturesque Dudh Sagar waterfall – a major tourist attraction, would have become only a trickle for the state of Goa that relies on tourism for revenue purpose.
She adds, “I also clearly remember when the SWR Double tracking project was put up to the Forest Department way back in 2013, it was rejected by the then PCCF Richard D’Souza who without mixing words said that the fragile bio-diversity of the ghats would be lost forever to which I agreed and so also did the Late Chief Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar.”
The then MLA says that she found it was her bounden duty to protect not only the forest but also the residences of those living along the proposed route for the second SWR track, as these people have invested their total /lifetime resources to build these houses and we also cannot forget the heritage houses, some of which are hundreds of years old. Further, coal dust pollution levels will not increase with the cancellation of the second SWR track.
“I cannot also forget the people of Cortalim constituency who joined the peoples’ movement under VACAD to oppose against the second SWR track. I remember how VACAD invited the then Chief Minister of Goa – Dr Pramod Sawant, to see how close the second SWR track would be to the existing houses in the villages all along the route. The Chief Minister seemed ruffled when he saw where the second track would land with respect to its proximity to the existing houses but did not act on it.
However, the people of Goa can now have a sigh of relief that finally it is the Apex court that has come to their rescue and ensured that the Bio diversity of the state will be protected for posterity.
I take this opportunity to thank every individual and every organization which has contributed in some way or the other towards this great achievement for Goa and her people.
It is often said that when human beings at the helm of affairs do not care, God steps in to save his creation,” concluded Alina Saldanha.