Railways rides roughshod, resumes Davorlim work

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Workers lay the second rail track at Davorlim. Also, a LC Gate cabin is being demolished at Sao Jose de Areal on Wednesday, clearing the way for the double-tracking project.See also p3

Margao: Riding roughshod over the vehement opposition to the double-tracking project, the south western railways on Wednesday resumed double-tracking work at Davorlim amid the presence of police personnel as the youth of the village initially stopped the work.

Nearly 25 police personnel led by sub-divisional police officer Kiran Podwal stood to their ground at around 10 am, helping the railways do the double-tracking work.

The police allegedly threatened the agitators of booking and arresting for trying to disrupt the railways work.

A rail cabin was demolished clearing the way for double tracking, and the second rail track was laid for a distance of the Davorlim stretch.

The Davorlim villagers gathered at the worksite when they got a whiff of the work. The agitators stopped the work for some time.

They claimed that the railway authorities did not have requisite permission to carry out the work.

“We stopped the work as the railways authorities did not have required permissions.  However, soon after police personnel rushed in trying to chase us away,’’ a man from Davorlim said.

Cresson Antao, convenor of the Goencho Ekvott, which has been fighting off the double-tracking project, alleged that police threatened the Davorlim villagers with arrest if they sought to know about the permissions.

“The SDPO said that we cannot interfere in the government’s work. He also ordered his officer to take photographs of the agitators. The SDPO also asked the railways to get in their own police force,” Antao maintained. 

The Goencho Ekvott leader also claimed railways officials told the villagers that they will get police personnel from Bihar in the next two days to handle the protestors in Goa.

“The SDPO also said that let the Bihar police personnel deal with the agitating locals. This is highly condemnable. We want to give a clarion call to the Goan youth that we must unite and save Goa for the posterity,’’ Antao said, alleging that the SDPO abused the agitators for trying to scuttle the work.

Convenor of the Goencho Avaz Captain Viriato Fernandes strongly condemned the ugly episode at Davorlim.

“We are contemplating seeking legal course to take forward our agitation. The misbehaviour of the SDPO only strengthens the agitation. He does not know how to deal with agitators…We are ready to sacrifice our lives,” Captain Fernandes said.