Saturday, August 28, 2010

Double lining of South Western Railway: for whose benefit?


The Hon’ble Chief Minister,

Government of Goa,

Secretariat, Porvorim,

Bardez, Salcete, Goa.


With reference to the reports appearing in the media regarding the Railway Board approving double lining of the South Western Railway from Vasco to Hospet, permit me to point out a few really important matters to you:

1. In the first place, this is an initiative taken by the Mormugao Port Trust which has been consistently bypassing the Government of Goa and in fact behaving like a state within a state. Besides, it is a matter of jurisdiction. Who plans and decides the development of Goa? The duly elected government of Goa or an organization that is carrying out a particular activity in the State? Has the Planning & Development Board of Goa recommended the doubling of the SWR? If not, what authority has the MPT to do so?

2. The doubling of the line will cause not only hardships to the people but also for your government. A large number of houses will be adversely affected if the SWR line in Goa is doubled and large tracts of scarce Goan land will once again be in the hands of Central Agency that truly does not give any tangible benefits to Goans in terms of recruitment.

3. There are a good number of heritage houses close to the railway track which will be badly affected if the SWR line is doubled as the vibrations caused by the rail movement will shake their foundations.

4. The increased traffic on the line will also cause noise pollution not to mention dust pollution.

5. After the SWR line in Goa was converted to broad gauge, people began facing a lot of problems as traffic increased and it became more and more difficult to cross the tracks. Long queues at the manned railway crossings are a common feature along the Goans landscape now. Therefore, the Government of Goa should insist that every railway crossing in Goa should have either a rail under bridge or a rail over bridge so that people are not put to hardships and until and unless this is provided for, no Goan land should be handed over to the Railways.

6. Besides, the Railways should also be asked to provide for over or under bridges as and where required in keeping with the needs of the State for the next 35 years as the Golden Jubilee Development Committee is preparing this road map for Goa.

7. Going by the tenor of the discussions in the recent in the State Assembly, it is evident that the Government of Goa is not quite happy with the manner in which MPT is behaving. Hence, before it becomes more authoritarian it would be better for the State Government to put the brakes on MPT’s ambitious expansion plans which are aimed at packing this Goa with more and more people from outside the State rather than helping our own Goans or Goa.

Therefore, I request to immediately write to the Union Railway Minister and the Railways Board bringing to their notice our apprehensions and also listing out these demands in the interest of Goa.

Requesting you to treat this matter as urgent and serious,

Yours sincerely,


Matanhy Saldanha

(Former Tourism Minister)

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