The villagers of Velsao in South Goa, on Friday staged a protest against the doubling of railway tracks, claiming that the portion of land on which the work was underway belongs to them, and not the Railways. The protesting villagers submitted that Mormugao Deputy Collector had promised to carry out a joint inspection on Friday but he did not turn up at the site. Former Environment Minister and ex-MLA Alina Saldanha said “there is evidence that it is private land and they (railway workers) are trespassing without a word to the owners.” “Is this the rule of the day to trespass on people’s property without informing them,” she questioned.
“Has the government carried out any study to find out the impact of the work (double tracking) on the life of people? Nothing is done. Why are we being treated as second-class citizens,” Saldhana, former Cortalim MLA, questioned.
She said that there are cases where one track is seen in front of the house and the second is (proposed) behind the house. “How will these people stay in such situations? Are you a responsible government,” Saldanha, who joined the AAP before the assembly elections after quitting the BJP, said.
Goencho Ekvott`s founder member Orville Rodrigues, supporting locals of the area, speaking to IANS, said that the deputy collector was supposed to come to the site to check the documents of land, but he didn`t turn up.
“Locals have all the documents to claim that the land belongs to them. Still, the Railways are carrying out work of doubling the tracks,” he said. Locals who gathered to protest against the double tracking said that they will not go to government offices to show their property documents as they face harassment there.
(With inputs from IANS)