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Litmus Test, as Show of Strength on Cards This Weekend in Salcette Areas Against Railway Double Tracking

Protest Against Railway Double Tracking
Protest Against Railway Double Tracking in Salcete

Areas of Salcette are bracing up for a major show of strength this weekend, as local NGO groups, along with other politically connected organizations, are expected to descend together to voice their support against the double-tracking of the railway work being carried out by the authorities. 

Goa Prism had yesterday reported that a tense situation had prevailed at the Sao Jose de Areal area, and with the protection of a strong police force, the railway authorities bulldozed their way through and laid a track at the railway crossing gate. 

This weekend, the railway plans to do the same at the Chandor level crossing, however, there appears to be a tough force building up across corners of the state, and many believe that this weekend will be a show of strength of the people’s unity against the government pushing its way through, without paying heed to people’s demands and requests. 

The railway authorities, in fact, are going ahead with this work through an order from the South Goa collector, however, many groups, including locals, have cited various violations of the law. 

Goencho Ekvott has written to the Collector South yesterday, warning of a law and order situation if the work permission granted is not revoked immediately. The group has also claimed that no proper permission was taken from the local panchayat areas where this railway line work is being carried out. The land acquisition process also has not been completed, and as such, the undertaking of the laying of the line was in violation of the law. 

GKN Thumps NOC Given To Railways: 

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The Goyant Kollso Naka group, which has also been at the forefront of this movement, has slammed the state authorities for granting permission to the railways for carrying out the work, ignoring the local panchayats. 

The organization issued a memorandum to the Additional Collector, South Goa, Agnelo Fernandes and also pointed out that in the land acquisition process, the local panchayat has very much an equal right in the process, and as such, a consent approval from the local body is also needed. 

Goa Forward Party Vouches To Actively Agitate:  

The regional outfit, in a press conference yesterday, announced that the party will actively lend its support to the people opposing this railway project.

The party general secretary, Prashant Naik said, “The people’s power reigns in a democracy and if the government remains stubborn, then GFP will show the government who is powerful. We are ready to prove that the railways double-tracking is with the agenda to make Goa a coal-hub and use the rails for coal, and not for people,” he said. 

The party leader also stated that the government was insensitive to provide the work permission on the day marked for all ‘souls day’ by the Christian community. 

Former Cuncolim MLA Warns People will Not Keep Quiet:

Former MLA Joaquim Alemao has warned the authorities that the people will not keep quiet to the government moves and will descend together at the railway gate in Chandor on the intervening night of November 1 and 2. 

“People are convinced that the double-tracking project is not in the interest of Goa, but for a few corporates. The government and the railways should respect the sentiments of the people and shelve the double-tracking project,” he said. 

AAP Shoots Letter To CM:

Aam Admi Party (AAP), in a strong letter to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, has said that the constitutional duty of the CM was to protect Goans interests and the identity of the state. Convenor Rahul Mhambre also pointed out that no benefits of the project are for Goans and it was only to benefit a few in the neighboring states. 

“On the other hand, Goans living by the side of the railway track will suffer from innumerable diseases due to the coal dust,” he said in the letter. 

It must be pointed out, that locals are enraged at the number of locomotives passing every day on this lien transporting coal. These trains, when looked at closely, are filled to the top with coal, and in turn, not even covered properly, resulting in a lot of spillage of coal dust along the way. Several people continue to reside in close proximity of the existing railway line and are faced with coal dust particle pollution in their everyday life. 

Local MLA’s, and the state government has not stated anything as of now, while the South Goa collector too, has been mum on the issue to date. 

Come this weekend, and local citizens shouldered together in the strength of many NGO’s and groups, will aim to protect the state’s rich identity from being robbed under the cover of the dark. 

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