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Home >News >India >MGP supports railway track doubling in Goa; activists, locals up in arms

Amid cries of objection by locals, NGOs and opposition parties over the double-tracking of the railway line, Goa's Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) on Thursday came out in support of the proposed project, saying that it was required for food grains movement.

Talking to reporters, MGP MLA Sudin Dhavalikar said his party was, however, opposed to doubling of the track for coal transportation.

"The double-tracking will help the movement of food grains from Goa," he said, adding that the project will benefit the people of the state.

"Opposing the project just for the sake of it won't help in the development of the state. We have to oppose those projects that are harmful to the state," he said.

Three infrastructural projects -- expansion of a railway track and highway, and a new power line -- has led to mass protests across the state. As all the three projects cut through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mollem National Park, the locals believe they will harm its pristine forests and pollute the landscape.

They say that the projects are aimed towards helping the coal handling companies transport the raw material from Mormugao Port Trust to their plants. The two main importers from the plant are Jindal Soth West (for steel plants in Karnataka) and Adani (which supplies coal to industrial units including Jindal).

While the port currently has the capacity to handle 10 million tonnes of coal every year, a report by the Centre's SagarMala scheme says it is projected to handle 51 million tonnes in the next 15 years.

The report also says that "doubling of the railway line has to be completed in order to improve Mormugao port's evacuation capacity".

The state government had earlier assured the protesters that the expansion plan will help carry passengers and other cargo in addition to coal. They also said they will cap coal imports.

"We are reducing (coal) imports to 50%," Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said.

However, locals say that the cap will not reduce damage to the green cover.


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