The pristine beauty and scenic greenery around Goa such as the gorgeous Dudhsagar waterfalls may only last a few more years. The wildlife and biodiversity, safely protected in Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park are now being threatened by infrastructure projects.
According to a Quint report, the existence of over 235 bird species, 219 butterfly species, 70 mammal species, 45 reptile species, 44 fish species and 27 amphibian species are in danger of being depleted due to plans of infrastructural projects that are underway. And the Goans, along with the rest of India, are up in arms about it.
Over, 5,000 odd protestors, including students, took to the existing railway track in Chandor, South Goa, on November 1 for a midnight protest against the double-tracking of the railway line, which is part of three projects. The three projects — namely, the double-tracking of the railway line, the four laning of National Highway 4-A and the laying of a 400kV transmission line — are projected to cut through Goa’s green zones.
Among the many voices of dissent is a community of students, who have launched a Mollem Memory Project to not only take to streets, and write letters to the government requesting reconsideration but also raise awareness through their artwork.
Using posters, poems and short videos the students have been addressing the aspects of conservation and urged to put the environment before profits and development.
The Mollem Memory Project has roped in over 300 college institutes from Goa and neighbouring states gathering support for the cause.
A press release about how 300 plus students from across Goa and neighbouring states joined in the protests of felling trees quoted Jyotsna Dessai, a former Zoology student of Parvatibai Chowgule College, Margao, who said, “These projects will cut through protected areas in Goa. The fragmentation will destroy an important tiger corridor and unparalleled biodiversity.”
Questioning the decision-making process, Muskan Shaikh, a current MSc. student at Carmel College, Nuvem said, “The approvals have been hastily given, taking advantage of the lockdown. Mollem is part of the Western Ghats, a global biodiversity hotspot and a lifeline for peninsular India. Generations of Goans have viewed these parks as their national pride. These are our commons. Not just for our present generation but also for future generations to come. We have to protect them.”
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)