Tuesday 16 Apr 2024

GKN requests Salcete MLAs to intervene, stop Vasco-Kulem track-doubling works

THE GOAN NETWORK | MAY 27, 2022, 12:23 AM IST


Upping the ante against the double-tracking project post-Supreme Court order, Goyant Kollso Naka on Thursday called on five Salcete MLAs with a request to intervene and stop works of doubling the Vasco-Kulem railway line immediately.

A delegation of GKN-led by co-convenor Abhijit Prabhudesai, Diana Tavares, Xavier Fernandes and others called on MLAs Digambar Kamat, Venzy Viegas, Cruz Silva, Yuri Alemao and Ulhas Tuenkar and submitted memorandums. They plan to call on MLAs Aleixo Sequeira, Sankalp Amonkar, Anton Vaz and Ganesh Gaonkar.

Plans are also afoot to seek an appointment with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and the Chief Secretary with a plea to stop the ongoing track-doubling works.

In the memorandum, GKN pointed out that the double-tracking project is a linear project, which means that unless the entire project is completed, any construction carried out is a waste of public funds, adding that work must stop immediately until all permissions are obtained given the Supreme Court order and unnecessary risk to public funds.

The GKN drew the attention of the MLAs to the Supreme Court order wherein the Apex Court has stated that it agrees with the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) that the requirement of coal can be met from the Krishnapatnam port and thus degradation of Western Ghats can be prevented.

It was further pointed out that the Supreme Court has also accepted the findings of the CEC that the double-tracking is unnecessary based on the data obtained from the railways themselves.

“CEC has observed that 80 per cent of the rakes are returning empty from Karnataka to Goa, which leaves a huge unutilized capacity in the single line itself. CEC also observes that coal makes up over 90 per cent of the goods traffic from MPT, which will be reduced in the future consequent to government policy. The Supreme Court thus agrees with the findings of the CEC, based on exhaustive data from the Railways and MPT, that the double-tracking is unnecessary”, the memorandum stated.

It added: “The Supreme Court also states that due to difficult terrain, sharp curves and gradient as high as 1:37, any further construction would invite a great disaster in the sensitive areas of Western Ghats. The Supreme Court has also pointed out that the 23 tunnels for the proposed second line fall outside the existing right of way and amounts to the formation of a new line altogether (not doubling of an existing line, as submitted by railways).

Saying the railway authorities have admitted that the work within the Wildlife Sanctuary requires the construction of 23 tunnels and seven major and 74 minor bridges, and will take five years or so, GKN said works outside the Wildlife Sanctuary, which may take only a year or so to be carried out, need not take place now but can start well after the tunnelling and other works in the Wildlife Sanctuary commence if they are ever permitted.

Abhijit told The Goan that the GKN delegation received a response from the MLAs, including BJP MLA Ulhas Tuenkar, who has promised to take up the matter with the Chief Minister. 

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