SC Committee Recommends Scrapping Of Indian Railways' Line Doubling Project Between Goa And Karnataka

SC Committee Recommends Scrapping Of Indian Railways' Line Doubling Project Between Goa And KarnatakaSupreme Court of India (DD News)

In a setback to infrastructure development plans, the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has recommended withdrawal of the environmental approval to doubling of the single line railway track between Tinaighat in North Karnataka and the port town of Vasco da Gama in Goa.

This railway line doubling project was sanctioned by the Ministry of Railways in 2010. It includes doubling of the existing Hospet-Tinaighat-Vasco railway line of a total length of 342 kilometres.

While the first phase between Hospet and Tinai ghat which is laid atop the largely flat Deccan plateau had already been completed, the second phase between Tinaighat and Vasco da Gama which crosses through steep slopes, raging rivers and the thick forests of the Western Ghats was contested.

The committee also recommended that the Goa-Tamnar 440KV power line should be set up along the alignment of the existing power line and it cleared the four-laning of NH-4A between Anmod and Panajim if done as an elevated corridor.

The three linear projects pass through the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats, an internationally recognised Biodiversity hotspot, reports Hindustan Times.

“CEC does not find any justification for undertaking a project of this nature which will destroy the fragile ecosystem of the Western Ghats,” the CEC headed by P V Jayakrishnan, said.

“Moreover this doubling project will only marginally enhance the capacity of the most inefficient section of the Railway Network passing through ecologically sensitive and biodiversity rich tiger Reserve, two Wildlife Sanctuaries and a National Park,” he said.

These three projects were cleared in April 2020 by the Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife (SCNBWL), chaired by Union minister of forests Prakash Javadekar, sparking protests by environmentalists in Goa.