22 Nov 2023  |   06:37am IST

Greens slam Goa Wildlife board for in-principle clearance to Tamnar project

Accuse the Goa State Board for Wildlife of not protecting interest of wildlife; claim in-principle approval given without application of mind
Greens slam Goa Wildlife board for  in-principle clearance to Tamnar project

Team Herald

PANJIM: Right thinking Goans and environmentalists have criticised the Goa State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) for granting its in-principle approval for the controversial Goa Tamnar Transmission Project Limited, which passes through the Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary.

The wildlife board meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane, reviewed and gave the nod for this inter-State transmission system project envisaged by the Union Ministry of Power, on Monday.

Earlier, Chief Minister Sawant confirmed the approval in a tweet, stating, “Board cleared the Tamnar electricity project.” The power transmission initiative involves laying a 400 KV transmission line from Sangod in Goa to the Karnataka border to address Goa’s peak electricity demand of 1,192 MW.

The environmentalists had filed petitions before the High Court challenging the earlier approval dated November 28, 2018 issued by the Central Electricity Authority for an alignment of the 400 KV High Tension Line (HTL) as it directly affects forests, wildlife and lakhs of trees in the ecologically sensitive area of the Western Ghats.

Reacting sharply to the Board’s decision, Goa Foundation secretary Claude Alvares said, “It is just a formality. I don't know why they (State Wildlife Board) are making songs and dancing about it. When the Supreme Court has already decided, where is the question of the State Wildlife Advisory Board deciding? All the board decisions have been set aside, so it is not even considering what they do and what not. The Wildlife Board is certainly not protecting the interest of Wildlife.”  

Environmentalist and the Federation of Rainbow Warriors general secretary Abhijit Prabhudesai charged that the Goa State Board for Wildlife has given in-principle approval without application of mind.

“The Tamnar transmission project will pass through core areas of the Western Ghats and Anshi Tiger Reserve, which will destroy tigers. The project is against the people of the State and therefore we are opposing it,” he said.

“With this money the government can put up solar panels on houses of people and government buildings and solve power problems,” he said.

“We have been making this demand for a long time but the government has not been listening to us. The government is handing over power distribution work to Sterlite, a private company. Thus it will privatise electricity and this will increase the power bills by 10-15 per cent every year,” he said.

Prabhudesai further said that the State government is going against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of meeting the renewable energy target of 175 GW by the year 2022.

Activist Oldrin Pereira from Aldona, said, “Chief Minister and Forest Minister are giving permission for the project. Are they owners of the land? No. We are the owners of the land. The State is only administrative tutelage. But the State has given the permission.”

“Has any of the Comunidade given NOC to cut down the trees? No. Have the owners of the land given power to install towers? Those who are only representing the State are giving permission to Tamnar,” Oldrin said.

The petitioners are seeking protection of Goa’s primary forests, wildlife and the ecologically sensitive terrain of the Western Ghats which, as per the record disclosed, were not taken into consideration prior to issue of the impugned order.


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