Goa felling

Protests against Trees to be Felled in Goa for Power Plant and Coal Transmission

In Goa, citizens have been protesting against the felling of trees for the setting up of a power plant, and the laying of tracks for coal. The ‘Save Mollem Citizen’s Group’ (SMCG) has been vocal against setting up the transmission line in Mollem where the expected project may run through Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park. People have been blocking railroads and also raising their voices online against the felling of these trees.

In and around Mollem, about 50, 000 trees have been marked for felling for three projects approved by the central government and cleared by the National Board for Wildlife in April 2020. Though the government said that no more than 3000 trees will be felled for the transmission, citizens are suspicious, questioning how the government proposes to take machinery to the said location most of which can currently be accessed only by foot.

The opposition and civil society groups had planned a rally protesting the rail double tracking from Karnataka’s Castle Rock railway station to Tinaighat station as it is allegedly done for the sole purpose of transporting coal. The South Western Railway Authority said that the double-tracking in South Goa’s Davorlim village, the flashpoint of the agitation against the double tracking, will be postponed due to “operational constraints”. The opposition and civil groups have planned a large rally in Margo to protest against the transmission line.

In July, the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa wrote a letter to Union Ministers for Environment and Forests and Tourism Prakash Javadekar and Prahlad Patel (MoS) to reconsider the environmental impact of the central projects. The Association was also concerned about the “impact that these three projects will have on the tourism industry”.