Chief Minister Digambar Kamat has promised to convene a meeting of officials of Town & Country Planning and Public Works Department to prepare the State’s reaction to the Indian Railway Board’s decision to double the South Western Railway line passing through the state.
According to reports, the Railway Board, following a persistent demand from Mormugao Port Trust, has agreed to lay a double line from Hospet to Vasco in order to increase the freight movement to the port. Ironically, while deciding upon this, the State government was not at all consulted.
Mr. Kamat declared this to ex-Minister Matanhy Saldanha when the latter called upon him with a memorandum of demands.
Mr. Saldanha demanded that the government prepare itself for this project by demanding that the Railways replace all existing manned level crossings in the State along the railway line with either rail over bridges or rail under bridges.
Besides, he demanded that the government also identify new places where such bridges would be required keeping in mind the development of the State over the next two decades.
He also demanded that the Railways be asked to provide the State government with a map demarcating exactly where the second railway line will be laid.
Mr. Saldanha in his memorandum also urged the government to protect the heritage houses an structures that lie along the railway line by pointing out that these would be under threat due to increased vibrations caused by the increased traffic.
Following the conversion of the erstwhile South Central Railway route from Mormugao to a broad gauge line, Goans have been facing untold hardships, the most visible of which is the long queues seen at the manned level crossing not only in towns but also in the country side.
Mr. Saldanha opined that the State government should learn its lessons from this and in order to protect the citizens from more problems, should prepared a list of demands and requirement as soon as possible.