Panaji, Aug 12 (IANS) Goa unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defended three upcoming projects in the forest areas in South Goa, saying the projects were necessary for development and urged activists protesting against rail, road and power projects to consider their positive aspects.
“The Central government has decided to go ahead with these projects by considering all the pros and cons. Activists should consider the same too before protesting against them,” Goa BJP spokesperson Sidharth Kuncalienkar told a press conference in Panaji on Tuesday.
Nearly 50,000 trees located in the Western Ghat region of Goa are slotted for felling for the three Central government projects, which include expansion of railway lines and highways and drawing of a new high tension power, spread across the two wildlife reserves, which are two of the biggest protected forests in the state. The projects have already been cleared by the National Wildlife Board for Wildlife in April this year.
Tourism industry stakeholders as well as activists and opposition political parties have opposed the three projects, claiming it would not only have adverse environmental impact on the state, but would also affect eco-tourism activities in Goa.
Kuncalienkar said Goa was flanked on the one side by the protected Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea on the other, which left very little territory for carrying out development projects.
“Goa is one of the most forested areas in the country. We need to think and study these issues before protesting against them, because there is very little area left in Goa for development,” Kuncalienkar said, adding that nearly 60 per cent of Goa’s topography had green cover.
Incidentally, last month, the Bombay High Court bench in Goa had issued notices to state and Central government agencies, after a petition filed by a local NGO alleged that several green norms had been flouted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and other associated wildlife bodies in granting permissions to the three projects.