Belagavi: Railway clarifies that proposed doubling of track from Castle rock to Vaso da gama in the interest of public. No new area is being taken for laying Railway line and will not have any additional impact on environment and maximum care will be taken during construction of line and said that similar infrastructure development projects being executed all over country including ecologically sensitive north eastern region. Moreover environment impact assessment study got done by Indian Institute of Science ,Bengaluru. Tree cutting requirement is very less and will be reduced further foot survey will be done for finalizing alignment quantum of coal being transported is continuously declining future will be of non-conventional energy sources and railways is committed development of Goa in environment friendly way electrification will make trains carbon neutral.
During the online press conference of South Western Railway on doubling of Railway track between Castlerock and Vascodagama, K. Mishra, Additional General Manager, South Western Railway, P.K. Kshatriya, Chief Project Manager, RVNL, S.K. Jha, Additional Divisional Railway Manager of Hubballi Division were present. E. Vijaya, Deputy General Manager and Chief Public Relations Officer gave a brief introduction of the project and how improved connectivity can benefit state of Goa. Before planning work, Environment Impact Assessment study has been got conducted by IISc, Bengaluru existing single line railway track between Castle Rock to Vasco-da-gama in the state of Goa was laid more than a century back. Ministry of Railways has sanctioned project of doubling of Railway track between Hospet (Karnataka) and Vasco-da-gama(Goa) (342 km) in the year 2010-11 at a cost of Rs.2127 crore . The project has since been nearly completed in the state of Karnataka except 10 Km between Unkal and Hubballi, which is targeted for commissioning by March 2021. About 7 km track between Madgoan- Majorda in the state of Goa has also been doubled. Remaining stretch of about 90 Km is in State of Goa ,where works are awarded for doubling and are being taken up after ensuring necessary clearances. Doubling of the said section will be a game changer for the state of Goa, taking the development to new heights, by giving impetus to trade and enabling easier and faster passenger movement. Existing rail network is constrained due to single line long ghat section severely limiting train running capacity.
While average section running time in plain section is 8 to 10 minutes, it takes 70-80 minutes to pass the critical ghat section reducing sectional capacity to 15 % of sections in plains. Moreover the ghat section is extremely landslide prone and being single line the state remains frequently cutoff during rainy season. In view of above constraints, it is imperative that double line rail connectivity be provided for improving mobility and all weather rail link in the region. The following advantages have been elaborated.  More number of passenger trains,  Better intrastate connectivity  Boost to trade and commerce among adjoining states  Increased tourist inflow  Augmenting infrastructure at intermediate stations  Relaxing bottlenecks of ghat section operation  Improving passenger amenities at stations  Remodelling yards to deal 24 coaches Construction of 5 Road Over Bridges and 3 Road Under bridges for enabling road traffic (detailed benefits listed in annexure)  On being asked about the purpose of doubling of track, it has been informed by Railway officials that the same is to strengthen connectivity to facilitate easy and faster movement of public ,in most energy efficient way.  When queried on quantity of coal that will be transported ,Shri Mishra stated that presently Emphasis is being given for usage of environment friendly sources of energy /resources for power generation.  As a result ,the use of coal is gradually reducing and share of non-conventional energy sources is gradually increasing . In the year 2015-16, SWR carried 12 Million Tonnes of coal which has reduced to 9 Million Tonnes in the year 2019-20 showing a reduction of 25% with in span of 4 years.  As doubling is being done pre dominantly in Railway land, there is no additional impact on environment. Care will be taken to ensure least disturbance during construction and alignment will be decided to avoid trees to the extent possible.  Alignment is being planned in such a way that not even a single building will be affected fully for the doubling project.  Only compound wall in very few houses (less than 12) in stretch, may be affected and Railway is trying to avoid even this. Finally it is assured by Vijaya that all stake holders will be taken into confidence, genuine concerns of public will be addressed. Execution of work will be done only by liaisioning with State officials and obtaining necessary approvals and clearances from the District Administration.

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