India Today

GOA’S GREEN WARS

Since November 2020, hundreds of villagers and flash mobs in Goa have been protesting against three major infrastructure projects in the picturesque Mollem town close to the state’s border with Karnataka. They say the projects—to double a railway track, widen a national highway and build a sub-station for a power transmission line from Karnatakawill cause irreparable harm to the forests adjacent to the Mollem National Park, a 240 sq. km protected area in the Western Ghats.

Environmental activists claim some 100,000 trees face the axe due to these projects. A fourth project, the 345-acre IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) campus in the ecologically sensitive Melauli area of north Goa, was moved out on January 15 after protests from locals.

Meanwhile, somewhat paradoxically, another agitation is gathering steam—not in defence of the environment but in favour of resuming iron ore mining. The Goa Mining People’s Front, which represents people dependent on mining for a livelihood, held a demonstration in Panaji on February 8. Mining came to a halt in Goa on March 16, 2018, following a ban by the Supreme Court. Some 200,000).

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