Railway double-tracking project important for Navy too: Goa CM

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Panaji, Mar 24 (PTI The South Central Railway's double-tracking project in Goa is also important from the 'defence strategic' point of view as it can help meet the Navy's logistical needs, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told the Assembly on Wednesday.

The ongoing project is being opposed by environmental activists for fear that it will harm the region's ecology.

BJP MLA Alina Saldanha raised the issue, asking about the impact of the project on the wildlife.

Opposition members rushed to the Well demanding discussion on it for half an hour, but Speaker Rajesh Patnekar rejected the demand.

In a written reply to Saldanha's question, the chief minister said the project was also important from the 'defence strategic point of view' to meet logistical requirements of the Naval Command (which has a base in Goa) in emergency.

The double-tracking of railway route is being carried out from Castle Rock in Karnataka to Margao in Goa.

Sawant also said the Environment Impact Assessment report prepared by the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, has suggested measures to minimise its ecological impact.

'To reduce accidental killing of wildlife several mitigation measures such as use of signage for workers/ staff, using experienced train drivers,sensitisation of train drivers,regulation of garbage disposal,joint patrolling etc.

are proposed,' the reply said.

Eight underpasses have been proposed to facilitate the crossing by animals, it added.

'On the recommendations of the Chief Wildlife Warden, Railway Authorities have been instructed to explore the option of putting gates on tunnels opened through some mechanical/ electronically controlled switches before train arrivals for minimising trapping of wild animals in tunnels,' it added.

The double-tracking is expected to increase the number of passengers using the route from 6,000-7,000 per day at present to 54,000-65,000, the chief minister said. PTI RPS KRK KRK