Goa Congress demands justice from PM on Mahadayi issue

Goa Congress demands justice from PM Modi on Mahadayi issue

Modi is expected to laud the efforts of the health care workers

The Opposition in Goa has accused successive ruling the state BJP of colluding with Karnataka and "selling the interests of the state". Credit: AFP File Photo

Two days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to interact with Goan politicians, health workers and members of the public via video conference, Congress in Goa has demanded justice from the PM over the Mahadayi issue.

Addressing a press conference in Panaji on Thursday, state Congress president Girish Chodankar also said that the Prime Minister should scrap the three road, rail and power projects along the Goa-Karnataka border, which the Congress official said were being carried out in order to develop the state into a corridor to transport coal to Karnataka's steel mills. 

"BJP leaders have compromised our mother Mahadayi and sold it to Karnataka for political purposes. The damage to Goa because of this compromise is irreversible. It will cause immeasurable hardship to Goans in the years to come. PM should give justice to Goa on this issue," Chodankar said.

Also read: JD(S) to launch agitation for Mekedatu, Mahadayi

The Opposition in Goa has accused successive ruling the state BJP of colluding with Karnataka and "selling the interests of the state" over the long-standing inter-state dispute over the waters of the Mahadayi river.  

"We urge the Prime Minister when you interact with the people of Goa, announce that Goa will not be a coal hub and Goa will be rid of coal dust," Chodankar said, adding that the projects were not beneficial to Goa or the state's local residents in any manner. 

Modi's virtual interaction has been scheduled after Chief Minister Pramod Sawant claimed that the state had achieved 102 per cent coverage of the first dose of Covid vaccination. Modi is expected to laud the efforts of the health care workers, the state's administrative machinery, local politicians and the members of the public for achieving the feat.   

"Goa is being turned into a coal hub for Modi's friends in Delhi and Gujarat. Goans have no takeaway or benefit from these projects. Coal is already getting seeped into the health of Goans making them sicker," the state Congress president also said. 

The three projects include rail track expansion by the South Western Railway from Castlerock railway station in Karnataka to Tinaighat railway station in Goa, the National Highway - 4 four-laning and drawing of a power line. All three projects run through the protected forest areas in both Goa and Karnataka territories which are a part of the UNESCO-endorsed Western Ghat region.

50,000 trees in and around Mollem, a village located along the Goa-Karnataka border, have been slotted for felling to make way for the three government projects, which have been cleared by the state and the central government's Ministry for Environment and Forests.  

Activists, as well as opposition politicians in Goa, have been demanding a review of the three projects, claiming that they were hurriedly granted permission during the pandemic, without due diligence.

Opponents of the projects had alleged that the doubling tracking of railway tracks and expansion of the National Highway 4 would lead to increased transportation of coal imported to the Mormugao Port Trust in South Goa to steel mills in Karnataka's Bellary region.

Congress has already announced that if the party comes to power in the 2022 state assembly polls, it would scrap the three projects immediately. 

Check out latest videos from DH: