Foreign forces, fuelling protests against Goa govt: CM


Panaji, Oct 30 (IANS): Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday hinted, that foreign "forces" were trying to destabilise the BJP-led coalition government by opposing its decisions, while pointing to recent social media-driven protests in London against three central government projects located with wildlife sanctuary limits in Mollem village in South Goa.

Speaking at a government function here, Sawant also said that Goa Tamnar Transmission Project Ltd (GTTPL) project -- one of the three projects which are facing stiff opposition -- was necessary to provide adequate electricity for domestic and commercial consumption over the coming decades.

"Where is Mollem and where is London, they (protestors) are expressing opposition from London. Some forces are working against this government. Goans need to be aware of this," Sawant said.

"The houses in which we live, sometimes have four air conditioners operating. If we do not go ahead with the (power) project, we will not get power for our industries here. Our ACs at home will also not function," Sawant also said.

Last week, workers of the main opposition party, the Congress, had burnt an effigy of Goa BJP general secretary Damu Naik, after he had referred to expat Goans protesting against development projects on social media "bebe" (frogs), triggering outrage on social media.

Nearly 50,000 trees located in the Western Ghats region of Goa are slotted for felling for multiple Central government projects which include expansion of railway lines and highways and drawing of a new high tension power, spread across protected forests in and around Mollem village, located in the Western Ghats region.

The projects have already been cleared by the National Wildlife Board for Wildlife in April this year.

The electricity project is aimed at drawing 400 KVA power lines from Karnataka and construction of a substation, which will connect the Southern and Western power grids and is expected to enhance power quality in Goa.

The Opposition as well as civil society groups and tourism stakeholders bodies have expressed apprehension, that the projects were being pushed at an "express pace" to facilitate movement of coal imported through the Mormugao Port Trust facility in Goa to steel mills in Karnataka's Bellary district and nearby areas.

Sawant also said that the double tracking of the South Western railway track was not aimed at transportation of coal, as trumpeted by the protesters.

"We are not double tracking because of the coal issue. I have told those who are agitating against it, that this is a government which listens to grievances and resolves them. Bring your problems to the government and we will find solutions," Sawant said.

 

  

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