Why were the Goa Infra Projects red flagged?

The Central Empowerment Committee appointed by the Supreme Court recently raised serious concerns of Environmental Impact in Goa. This was related to the double tracking of the railway line between Kulem of Goa and Castle Rock in Karnataka.

What did the Committee say?

According to the committee, the Railway project will destroy the fragile eco system of the Western Ghats. The conclusion was made by the committee after examining the proposals cleared by the Standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife on the following projects:

  • Doubling of Railway tracks
  • Four Laning of National Highways
  • Goa-Tanmar Transmission Project

These projects will cut the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in South Goa.

Significance of Western Ghats

Western Ghats is a Biodiversity hotspot and one of the most important wildlife corridor in the country. The Western Ghats act as the huge water tank to six states. There are 13 national parks and several sanctuaries in the Western Ghats. They source major rivers such as Godavari, Cauvery and Krishna.

Why is the Railways Double tracking the line?

According to the Railways, the traffic between Goa and Karnataka is projected to increase. The line is mainly used to transport imported coal from Mormugao port to the steel mills in Bellary region.

Coal is being imported in the port since 1947. Around 14 million tonnes are imported annually.  Currently, the Government of Goa is working to decrease the coal imports in its ports to 8 million tonnes.

Project Update

The project aims to double track entire 342 kilometres. Of this, the South Western Railways have completed seven kilometres so far.

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