Vasco: Two days prior to the visit of Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to Vasco to inaugurate the renovated premises of Vasco railway station, newly-constructed community hall and other works of South Western Railway and Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd, Minister of Environment and Forest Alina Saldanha – an MLA elected from Cortalim of Goa State as a member of BJP, strongly opposed the proposed doubling work of the railway tracks of SWR from Castel Rock to Vasco on the grounds that the project would lead to destruction of villages by way of demolition and collapse of houses and heritage buildings.
Saldanha said that many of the houses that will be demolished or may collapse are 300 to 550 years old and no amount of compensation will make up for the loss. She said, “Saddest part is that the same people who had given their lands for laying of SWR tracks in villages of South Goa will now have to part with land again with no benefit to them whatsoever.”
Saldanha said that even Manohar Parrikar had said that the doubling of tracks will only benefit some industrialists and industries situated outside the state which import coal through MPT and Goa’s industry will not benefit. She also recalled that Parrikar had in a statement made on July 17, 2013 said that he had rejected the proposal of doubling the SWR track.
Raising concern over non-fulfillment of demands put forward by villagers of Cansaulim and Velsao Pale in Cortalim constituency, Saldanha said, “SWR authorities have been repeatedly requested to construct road over rail bridge at Cansaulim-Arossim junction level crossing 25 at Cansaulim, road under rail bridge from Pisolem to Mollo in the village panchayat of Velsao-Pale-Issorcim and a pedestrian bridge along with a road for two wheelers at the southern end of Cansaulim railway station but however none of the request has been fulfilled by the SWR authorities till date”, stated Saldanha.
Recently, representatives of various constituencies in South Goa district had raised objection against doubling of SWR track and have apprised Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.
Renovated building of Vasco railway station and newly constructed community hall near St Andrew’s Church Square will be inaugurated by Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu at a function in newly constructed community hall in Vasco on June 27 at 2 p.m.
Prabhu will also lay a foundation stone for a holiday home for officers and staff of Indian Railways at Margao and will also inaugurate the upgraded passenger amenities at Thivim railway station.