Hundreds of villagers of Guirdolim and Chandor on Sunday served the Southern Railway a 30-day ultimatum to begin work for a subway at the railway crossing at Guirdolim and warned that they will resort to rail-roko agitation if their demands are not met.
Hundreds of villagers took out a peaceful rally from Chandor sports complex to the railway station and also submitted a memorandum to the Chandor station master. Cuncolim MLA Cleofasio Dias along with panchayat members from Guirdolim, Chandor and Sao José de Areal and representatives of the church also participated in the rally demanding the immediate commencement of the railway subway at the railway crossing.
Speaking to reporters, Cleofasio Dias said the demand has been pending for the last 40 years and people are suffering as subsequent governments and MLAs have only given assurances but have failed to act. He said three years back Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar too had assured to address the issue but nothing has happened.
He said it is the demand of the people that the work on the subway must be taken up at the earliest. He said that he will initiate the process of documentation next week and send the necessary files to all the concerned departments. The MLA said that if the process does not commence within 30 days the people will take to the streets and protest.
The convenor of the agitation, Patwin Fizardo said that the railway track is dividing two villages and a lot of time is wasted at the railway crossing.
The parish priest Fr Simao Rodrigues said, while we need the railways, human values should not be undermined in the process of development. Fr Rodrigues said there is a need to address the issue of railway crossing as people are facing a lot of hardships especially school going children. Hence he said, “We need to move hand-in-hand in the development process and the railway subway will bring relief to the people”.
A resident Savio Antao said, it is the students which suffer the most because of the railway gate being closed frequently and with the railways having plans of doubling the track, the railway traffic will increase drastically. Antao said that nearly 20 trains pass each day and as per the people-rail ratio, Chandor should get a rail over-bridge or subway.