Thousands of Goans gathered at Chandor village in South Goa on Sunday (November 1) to hold midnight protests against the state government's move to push for expansion of the railway network between Margao and Sanvordem.
Residents have claimed that the expansion would destroy the state's ecological biodiversity.
Demonstrators occupied railway lines after the authorities started work on doubling the tracks as Goa acts as an important link for coal transportation to Karnataka.
Despite the existing infrastructure, the Goa government is looking to speed up the transportation process by introducing three major infrastructure projects, which are currently facing a strong opposition from local residents.
What are the projects that threaten Goa's wildlife?
There are three major infrastructure projects that threaten the forests in and around the regions of Mollem National Park and Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary.
During the lockdown, the National Board for Wildlife discussed more than 30 forest clearance proposals. Out of these projects, two were virtually cleared by the board. These included the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park.
The two forest clearance will lead to chopping down of 59,024 trees in the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park.
Specifically with respect to the protected area, around 170 hectares are planned for forest diversion.
How many species are estimated to be threatened by the project clearance?
The three projects can pose a serious threat to the number of cases involving human and wildlife conflict. According to The Quint, the sanctuary currently supports more than 70 mammal species, 235 bird species, 219 butterfly species, 44 fish species, 45 reptile species and 27 amphibian species.
The report said that the affected forest also acts as an important revenue source for nature-based tourism. Along with Dudhsagar, one of the tallest waterfalls of the country, hundreds of river-feeders originate in the forest and act as a lifeline for Goa’s water supply.
These are the concerns that Goans have raised and are angry about the damage the projects would cause the state.