Panaji: Two MLAs from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Congress have written a second letter to the Union Minister Prakash Javadekar reminding him of the different stake-holder representations, restating their concerns regarding the three infrastructure projects given clearance within Mollem National Park and Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary.
BJP MLA Alina Saldanha has written a second letter to the Union Minister Prakash Javadekar reminding him of 18 different stake-holder representations. Lourenco stated that the Union Railway Minister acknowledged his previous letter on the 4th of June, 2020 and stated to Prakash Javadekar, “I am shocked…that you are clueless to the protests at Mollem National Park.”
Lourenco and Saldanha’s letter, addressed to Union MoEFCC Prakash Javadekar, comes after the Minister of Forest, Environment and Climate Change feigned ignorance about receiving any correspondence on Mollem, in a 4 Oct press conference when he visited Goa. Over the last four months, thousands of citizens have written to the centre expressing concern and filing objections about the Mollem projects–in letters that are publicly available.
Javadekar’s press conference also left citizens surprised after a letter to the Central Empowered Committee objecting to the projects received more than 20,000 signatures from citizens. Besides Saldanha’s letter, a number of other official representations have also been made in the last few months. MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, MLA and Leader of the Opposition Digambar Kamar, and Prerna Singh Bindra–former member of the National Board for Wildlife–have all made official representations voicing objections to the Mollem projects.
Lourenco stated that he was disturbed by the Union Minister feigning ignorance to his letters and those of other Goans and asked “are we a democratic country or have been reduced to a country governed by tin pot dictatorship?”
Lourenco and Saldanha are one of several Goan MLAs from opposing parties including the ruling party who have expressed concerns over the Mollem projects. Additionally, Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte tweeted, ‘Union Minister Prakash Javadekar says he will look into the Mollem issue if memorandum is given–so whatever happened to the memorandums submitted till date by various organisations & elected representatives including myself?’
‘The railway line expansion will affect thousands of people, not only within these forest areas but outside, and the survey and land acquisition efforts have gone ahead while paying no attention and giving citizens no rationale for why these projects are even planned, and whether it is towards creating infrastructure for coal transportation,’ Saldanha’s letter reads.
She added that “the neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Karnataka to the North and South of Goa are 82 times and 51.8 times bigger than Goa and therefore what may be possible in these big states cannot be contained in the dot sized state of Goa”.