Indian activists against plans to make Goa a coal transport hub

Goa, photo by Jess Aston on Unsplash
Goa, photo by Jess Aston on Unsplash

Indian environmental activists and politicians in the southwestern state of Goa are opposing a plan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to turn Goa into a coal transportation hub.

Goa is known globally for its beautiful beaches and nature with seven wildlife sanctuaries.

Locals and activists have been protesting against three infrastructure projects – the expansion of a highway, railway and a power transmission network, according to local media reports.

India wants to increase coking coal handling at the state-run port in Goa, which could be transported to steel companies north of the state.

Activists say the projects are likely to lead to cutting thousands of trees in ecologically sensitive areas that are home to wildlife animals.

Goan politician Alina Saldanha wrote to the federal environment minister last week, saying she had “serious concerns” over environmental clearances given to some projects.

Saldanha said the railway track expansion project would affect thousands of people, “destroy the environment” and “make it impossible to live” due to “noise pollution and coal dust pollution, making people prisoners in their own land.”

“There are very many people who are completely opposed to these projects, and their voices have not been represented,” Saldanha said in a letter, reviewed by Reuters.

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