Personal hearings into land acquisition for rail track doubling deferred


The personal hearings into the land acquisition for rail track doubling was on Monday deferred after scores of people led by activists and three MLAs staged protests at the office of deputy collector and sub-divisional magistrate of Mormugao at Vasco which was the venue for the hearing.

Deputy collector and sub-divisional magistrate Sachin Desai, who is also the land acquisition officer, deferred all the personal hearings that were slated to be held from October 19 to October 27 in his chamber.
The rail track from Kalem to Vasco is proposed for double tracking as part of the special project of ‘Hospet-Hubli-Tinaighat-Vasco-da-Gama’ track doubling work.

Several activists including members of NGOs besides Cortalim MLA Alina Saldanha, Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao and Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and people protested outside the office demanding that the hearing be cancelled or deferred citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation.

The protesters included NCP state unit president Jose Philip D’Souza, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) vice president Sankalp Amonkar, NCP state unit minority cell chairman Nazir Khan, Goencho Ekvott convenor Creson Antao, Olencio Simoes, Capt Viriato Fernandes, Abhijit Prabhudesai, Fr Eremito Rebello, Albertina Almeida, Cicille Rodrigues, Santan Correia and others.
Cortalim MLA Saldanha said that people are united for a cause against doubling of railway track proposed by SWR adding, “Our stand is that we are not ready to give up our land for destruction of our state and are ready to lose lives for the cause.”
She demanded that the land acquisition officer walk along the railway track and find out the fact as to how railways will affect the lives of the people.

Curtorim MLA Lourenco informed that the issue of land acquisition is very serious as it would affect the health of the people due to the transportation of hazardous cargo such as ‘coal’.
GPCC vice president Amonkar alleged that the government is trying to grab the land illegally.
Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Goyant Kollso Naka (GKN) have welcomed the decision to defer the personal hearings into the land acquisition for rail track doubling.
NCP state unit president Jose Philip D’Souza along with its lone MLA from Benaulim constituency Churchill Alemao also met the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in his chamber and apprised him over the issue.

Goyant Kollso Naka (GKN) in a press statement said that the state government must concede to the non-negotiable demands of the people adding, “The government should remove 6 rivers of Goa from the schedule to the National Waterway Act, 2016 and convert MPT from a coal hub into a terminal for cruise tourism and green cargoes, thus ushering in a new era of economic growth and social development that will reach all the people not just of Mormugao taluka but
the entire state.”