The villagers of Arossim who were unitedly fighting against double tracking, now seem to be divided. The villagers seem to be split into two groups over the need for an underpass and a box culvert when Cortalim MLA Anton Vas carried out the inspection on Friday. One small group is with the MLA while the other group agreed that the underpass was needed but firmly objected to the underpass as a lollipop for doing double tracking.
On Thursday evening villagers of Arossim gathered around the historic St Lawrence Chapel to protest the alleged blockage of stormwater drains across the existing railway tracks that will be caused by the underpass which is coming up. The situation escalated on Thursday night when a large number of police personnel, including those from Vasco police station, also gathered at the site while the locals stood firm and remained present opposite the Chapel till late at night.
It culminated in a peaceful stand-off between the villagers and the police, with the villagers asserting that they will continue to oppose the doubling of the railway tracks for coal transportation through their village.
However, the situation got extremely tense earlier on Friday morning though when the villagers were shocked to see the work being carried out by the Railways, which to them, went against the assurances they had received on Thursday late night when they had all gathered at the site. There was uproar when the RVNL General Manager confirmed to the locals that the work is for doubling the existing track, something that the railway officials had not shared earlier with the locals despite questions about the overall purpose of the work.
Their struggle was rewarded after the Mormugao Mamlatdar reached the site, albeit much later in the day, and instructed the officials of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) to temporarily suspend construction activities in the area for a period of three days. The Mamlatdar further added that he would arrange for a meeting with the Deputy Collector on Monday with all the stakeholders, a proposal which was found acceptable by the villagers.