PACHU MENON, MARGAO
Quite unlike the farmers’ protest where the fear that they would be at the receiving end of the changes proposed by the government coupled with apprehensions that if they were to lose the fight they would be marginalised forever propels the need for a show of strength by the farmers, the slew of agitations that the state is witnessing now is one that aims to save Goa for posterity. In both the cases, the sentiments involved are more than obvious! Yet, one’s heart goes out to the motley crowd of crusaders in Goa who have taken it upon themselves to save and protect what is left of the paradise that it once was. The air, the rivers, the sea and the land; nothing retains the pristine forms that they were known for earlier. After decades of proscribed activities have denuded the state of its natural bounties, pollution is the bane of modern day Goa. The three controversial infrastructural projects in the state besides having raised the hackles of conservationists, have invited public ire over the insensitivity and indifference shown by the government towards their concerns. If a Delhi-like situation is to be avoided in Goa, corrective steps are to be taken immediately to improve the air-quality in the state. While the environmental impacts of coal transportation is well-known, why is the government adamant on going ahead with the rail double tracking? Moreover, if it is a development project that the government has undertaken, why is it veiled in so much of secrecy that the laying of tracks by the railway authorities have to be necessarily carried out late in the nights? While it is right to claim that a region constantly denied development will recede an eon into the past, how appropriate is to have developments being carried out in the state which come at the cost of the decimation of its natural resources and ecological devastation? Goans are accused of being politically influenced while resisting any progress in the region. Goans are not against development.