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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

CEC rules against double-tracking, Tamnar project

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Panaji: In a major setback to two of the three linear projects, the Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) has ruled against the double tracking of South Western Railway line and also Tamnar Power Project.

The CEC in its findings, presented before the Apex Court, has said that it does not find any justification for undertaking a project of this nature (double tracking) which will destroy the fragile Eco-system of the Western Ghats which is an internationally recognised Biodiversity hot spot and also one of the most important wildlife corridor of the Country.

As far as Tamnar project is concerned, the Committee has said “ Court may consider issuing necessary directions to the Ministry of Power, Government of India, Goa State Electricity Department and GTTPL to redraw and modify the alignment of additional 400 Kv line corridor between Narendra (existing) – Sangod (new) in the State of Goa and Karnataka.”

Here are the detailed findings of the CEC:

On Double Tracking:

CEC does not find any justification for undertaking a

project of this nature which will destroy the fragile Eco-system of the Western Ghats which is an internationally recognised Biodiversity hot spot and also one of the most important wildlife corridor of the Country.

Moreover this doubling project will only be marginally enhancing the capacity of the most inefficient section of the Railway Network passing through ecologically sensitive and bio-diversity rich Tiger Reserve, Two Wildlife Sanctuaries and a National Park. In these circumstances it is recommended for the consideration of this Hon’ble Court to revoke the permission granted by the Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife (SC NBWL) for doubling of the railway track passing through the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats from Tinaighat-Castlerock in Karnataka to Kulem in Goa involving 120.875 ha. of land (Protected Area 113.857 ha. and Non-Protected Area Reserved Forest 7.108 ha.) from the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary (BMWLS) in the State of Goa and 10.45 ha. (9.57 ha. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and 0.88 ha. in Haliyal Forest Division) in the State of Karnataka vide Minutes of the 56th Meeting of the SC NBWL in violation of the guidelines issued by the MoEF&CC under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and in

violation of Hon’ble Supreme Court order 5.10.2015 and without considering the justification for the doubling of the most inefficient railway line with 1:37 gradient and with severe restrictions on movement of trains and without considering the availability of alternative railway routes as well as alternative modes of transport.

 

 

On Power Line:

Keeping in view the detailed discussion above CEC is of the considered view that instead of clearing canopy of virgin forest cover along 10.50 km long corridor with 46m ROW in Goa State the proposed 400 Kv line should be drawn along the existing 220 Kv corridor line in Goa State after establishing 400 Kv corridor connectivity between Mapusa and Sangod and 220 Kv line between Sangod and Xeldem. This activity in fact is also part of the present project approved by CEA. This course of action will ensure adequate supply of power to the Southern Goa Region when the 100 MW of power now being received from Ramagundam through 220 Kv line is temporarily disrupted during the construction phase of 400 Kv line between Narendra and Sangod. Accordingly the project proposal in

respect of Karnataka part will require to be suitably amended so as to make use of the existing 110 / 220 Kv line Corridor.

This will also ensure that the commitment given by Power Grid and CEA to the Karnataka Government that no further transmission line shall be laid in the area is not violated. Most important of all this modification in the proposal will help in saving the precious forest cover and wildlife in the ecologically fragile and biodiversity rich Western Ghats.

 

Keeping in view the above this Hon’ble Court may consider issuing necessary directions to the Ministry of Power, Government of India, Goa State Electricity Department and GTTPL to redraw and modify the alignment of additional 400 Kv line corridor between Narendra (existing) – Sangod (new) in the State of Goa and Karnataka.

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