Despite opposition, SWR firm on doubling of track at Vasco

VASCO: General manager of South Western Railway (SWR) Ajay Kumar Singh on Sunday said that the SWR will stand by the decision taken by the central and the state governments to go ahead with the doubling of railway track from the Hubbali section to the Vasco railway station.

He said that if required, the project can also be
completed by constructing a tunnel through sea, if it remains the last option
for completing the much-needed project.

He was speaking to the media after Cortalim MLA Alina
Saldanha opposed the doubling of tracks. Saldanha alleged that the doubling of
tracks, which pass through several villages in Cortalim, would lead to
destruction of environment and houses, rendering people homeless.

Earlier, Singh inaugurated a 100 feet tall flag-post,
which has been installed opposite the Vasco railway station building at Subrai
Joshi Chowk. The flag-post was inaugurated in the presence of divisional
railway manager (Hubbali division), SWR, Arvind Malkhede and other officials of

Singh said that the visit conducted from the Hubbali
section to the Vasco railway station was a routine annual inspection, covering
several railway stations in order to check whether the railways, bridges and
tracks are safe. “It was a technical inspection wherein we stopped at ten
railway stations between Hubbali section and Vasco railway station, the major
stations being Tinai Ghat, Alnavar, Collem, Sanvordem and others,” said Singh.

He said that Saldanha has raised politically-sensitive
issues. “We are technical people and we are working on doubling of railway
tracks based on the directions issued by government of India and government of
Goa. It is the government who can decide on the project,” said Singh and added
that Railways was not short of business, as Railways has been operating for the
last over 100 years in India.

“We are welcome in other states to withdraw the doubling
of tracks project proposed in Goa and shift the same to some other place,” he
said. “With regard to the doubling of tracks project, we can listen to the
government and the Chief Minister and not other persons. We can also consider
other options like constructing a tunnel to complete the ambitious project,”
Singh said.

He said that the issue related to the destruction of
environment and axe falling on houses for alignment of the doubling of tracks
project, as raised by Saldanha, is not an emotional one. “In Bengaluru,
thousands of houses have been razed to the ground. Even the houses which
existed for hundreds of years in several parts of the country have been razed
down. We are not capturing land like the invaders Mughals, Portuguese and
British did. Railways does not have an army force for capturing the lands of
the people. If the local administration agrees and if the local government
agrees, then we work,” said Singh.

Meanwhile, Saldanha stood firm on her stand to oppose the
project and indicated her opposition to it during Singh’s visit to the Vasco
railway station.

“Issue that is plaguing the people of South Goa and
particularly Cortalim constituency is the fate awaiting their houses, which
have been existing since the last several decades. I can say this based on
facts. I got the SWR officials about a year ago to measure and find out exactly
where the second set of railway tracks will be placed. As per the officials of
SWR, the second track will be placed almost near the steps of the existing
houses. Therefore, I have come here today to ask the general manager of SWR to
have a site inspection so that he can know for himself why the people are so
upset,” said Saldanha.

She said with the doubling of tracks, more trains will
run on the tracks with greater speed and more vibration. “How will the people
live in an environment of noise pollution, which is the cause of many ailments?
What about the freedom of movement?” she questioned.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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