Goyant Kolso Naka, a new front fighting the coal handling at MPT, has written o 15 elected representatives against the coal handling and doubling of railway track from Londa to Vasco.
GKN has written to Urban Development Minister Milind Naik, Vasco MLA Jose Almeida, Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho, Cortalim MLA Alina Saldanha, Nuvem MLA Wilfred D’Sa, Margao MLA Digamber Kamat, Navelim Luizinho Faleiro, Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao, WRD Minister Filipe Rodrigues, Cuncolim MLA Clafasio Dias, Power Minister Nilesh Cabral, PWD Minister Deepak Pauskar and South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha,
“We requesting you to join the people to stop Vasco-Londa double tracking and Goa from becoming a coal hub. It is essential that the ongoing construction activities by Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd and others for South Western Railways (SWR) must be stopped,” the letter reads.
It further said that the Railway Board has ordered on 28.7.2020 that the to stop all works that are (i) new works/umbrella works included in the Pink Book 2020-2021, or (ii) have not progressed significantly.
“The orders states that only the work that are for the safety of the operations or are close to completion may continue. As the double tracking of Vasco-Londa railway lines is included in the Pink Book 2020-2021, and has not progressed significantly (the major part of the works are in the Western Ghats which will take over 5 years and have not even commenced), the ongoing works must be stopped in accordance with these orders,” the GKN says.
The GKN also said that the project has no valid permissions. as major parts of the double tracking works are in the Western Ghats in the Protected Areas of Goa.
“The final Wildlife and Forest Clearances for these works are not yet granted. Similarly, the lands between Chandor and Vasco are also not yet acquired, though a controversial acquisition proceeding using colonial undemocratic provisions has been started in these Covid pandemic times. The present construction works are also being carried out in a highly secretive way with no permissions of the panchayats, no consultation with the people, no display boards (as is mandatory in Goa) and no availability of plans on site,” it says.
Further, GKN says, the entire double tracking is one integral project.
“Therefore, project management norms dictate that unless environmental and other permissions are obtained first, no work should commence. In this particular instance, it is clear that the mandatory permissions are not yet obtained and that therefore the works must be stopped,” it says.
Also, the GKN says that the project has complete Opposition from Goans.
“It is a well-known fact that almost all Goans oppose the double tracking since it is only for private corporations to transport dirty and polluting coal. It is certain that this project will not be allowed by the people, considering the determination and unity displayed by Goans from across the State to oppose this project,” it says.
“It is prudent and logical to stop the works in these circumstances. Therefore, we call upon you to take all steps to demand that the Government stops the ongoing works without any further delay and that you may do all that is necessary to ensure that the works are stopped,” it says.
The letter is signed by Convenor Antonio D’Silva, co-convenor Xavier Fernandes, Co-convenor Abhijit Prabhudesai and secretary Deepika D’Souza.