Panaji:Amidst opposition for the project, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday told the House that the project is “also important from defence strategic point of view.”
The issue about double tracking of the South Western Railway route in Goa was discussed on the floor of the House during ongoing Budget Session on Wednesday.
BJP MLA Alina Saldanha raised the issue after which opposition benches rushed to the well of the House demanding half an hour discussion on the topic.
Speaker Rajesh Patnekar refused to allow half an hour discussion on the topic.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in a written reply to the Question tabled by Saldanha said that the double tracking of SW Railway track is also important from defence strategic point of view to meet any requirement of Naval Command at Goa at short notice in case of any emergency.
Various NGOs and Opposition parties are opposing double tracking of the Railway line between Castle Rock in Karnataka to Margao in Goa via Kulem and Kalay.
The opponents fear largescale destruction of ecology due to this project.
Sawant said that in the Environment Impact Assessment report prepared by Indian Institute of Science Bangalore on behalf of South Western Railways, suitable mitigation measures have been proposed to minimize impact on wildlife and ensure safe passage to wild animals.
“However, in order to reduce accidental killing of wildlife several mitigation measures such as use of signage for workers/ staff, using experience train drivers, sensitization of train drivers , regulation of garbage disposal, joint patrolling etc. are proposed,” he said.
“Total Eight (8) underpasses have been proposed in the entire stretch, so as to facilitate smooth movement and crossing of wild animals,” he said.
“Further, on the recommendations of the Chief Wildlife Warden, Railway Authorities have been instructed to explore the option of putting gates on tunnels opened through some mechanical/ electronically controlled switches before train arrivals for minimizing trapping of wild animals in tunnels,” Sawant added.
The Chief Minister also said that the double tracking will increase the flow of trains and number of passengers traveling in them.
He said that the double tracking of SW Railway will result in increase in passengers travelling on this route by train from 6,000-7,000 to 54,000-65,000.
Sawant said that at present, 12 passenger trains and 6 to 7 Goods trains are plying on this route carrying 6,000-7,000 passengers.
“ As informed by the South Western Railway authorities, expected increase of passenger trains may be up to 90,” he said.
Sawant said that after the double tracking, 54000 to 65000 passengers may avail the benefit of travelling in this route after completion of doubling.