19 Mar 2023  |   06:26am IST

Day 4: Despite FIR threats, Arossim locals show up to thwart railway projects

Villagers question Cortalim MLA over his absence at citizen protests; reiterate their opposition to double-tracking project works that have damaged their storm water drains
Day 4: Despite FIR threats, Arossim locals show up to thwart railway projects

Team Herald

ARROSIM/VASCO: The residents of Arossim continued their protest near the St Lawrence Chapel for the four consecutive day, asserting their opposition to the ongoing double-tracking and other related construction work carried out by the railways in the once-idyllic village.

On Saturday, Cortalim MLA Antonio Vas visited the site with some local panchayat members, reportedly for an inspection of the site of the pedestrian underpass planned here.

While protesting against the damage wreaked  by the railways to the old storm water drains near the Chapel, the villagers made it clear to Vas and the panchas that it was they who had called the Mormugao Mamlatdar to the site, and ensured that the works were temporarily put on hold. Luiza Fernandes, a local, also questioned why the MLA had not visited the site all this time when the locals were protesting.

Others, like Ella Mascarenhas also hit out at the manner in which the protesting villagers were being targeted. Mascarenhas pointed out that the village panchayat in the past had made a demand for the pedestrian underpass but when they discovered that the underpass would be part of the double tracking work, they had objected to this proposal. This sentiment was echoed by another villager Anthony Da Silva, who warned that if the doubling of the railway track happens, then all other promised development works would have no meaning.

“The NGT had passed an order in 2020, stating that a demarcation should be done of the water bodies, nullahs, water retention basins, storm water drains, low-lying areas etc. We had brought it to the notice of the village panchayat but this has not been done. This should have been completed first before talking about any other works. Tomorrow if the village gets flooded, who will be responsible, the MLA or the panchayat?,” Da Silva questioned.

 Vas assured the villagers that he will request the government to construct an underpass and a box-shaped culvert at the site of the ongoing railway double tracking work.

Vas along with railway officials, Cansaulim-Arossim-Cuelim Sarpanch Savio Pereira, panchayat members and villagers conducted a joint inspection at the site amidst chaos by two groups of villagers, with one group threatening not to allow double tracking work till an underpass is built.


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