In a major decision, the State Board of Wildlife (SBWL) on Monday granted its in-principle approval to the Goa Tamnar Power Transmission line passing through the Mollem wildlife sanctuary.
The SBWL meeting was chaired by the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant along with Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane.
In a tweet, Sawant said "Board cleared the Tamnar electricity project."
The power transmission project envisaged laying a 400 KV transmission line from Sangod in Goa to the Karnataka border to help meet Goa’s peak electricity demand of 1192 MW. However, the project was met with intense opposition and same was settled after the Supreme Court granted relief to the project proponent.
The Supreme Court last year had accepted the recommendation of the Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) appointed by it to utilise the existing 220 KV powerline alignment in Goa, instead of cutting down fresh forest cover, to lay a new 400 KV line as part of the Project.
Sources said that the project has received in-principle approval with certain conditions and that the final nod will be granted by the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL).
Sawant had strongly batted for the project and had lamented that some people even went to Supreme Court to stall it without realising that it was necessary to tone up the power infrastructure to provide uninterrupted power to the people of Goa.
Meanwhile, chief minister said that Board cleared erection of total eight BSNL towers in the protected areas and eco-tourism projects in Surla, Mollem and Netravali villages.
Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane said that during the meeting, key discussions centered round the promotion of eco-tourism initiatives in the hinterland with community participation.
He said that the Board has asked Forest Department to carry out a study in consultation with experts to prepare a comprehensive plan for development of eco-tourism.