Herald: DESTRUCTION approved at Mahalaxmi

Herald: DESTRUCTION approved at Mahalaxmi

21 Jun 2020  |   05:27am IST

DESTRUCTION approved at Mahalaxmi

The three projects were cleared by the State Biodiversity Board on December 2, 2019, at a meeting held at the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s official residence, Mahalaxmi, at Altinho. 

There were several dissenting voices at the meeting but were either went unheard or went silenced.

Following are the minutes of the meeting, chaired by the CM.

Agenda 1 – Doubling of Railway Track in Castle rock- Kulem- Kalay Margao Section of South Western Railway.

The Goa State Board for Wildlife (GSBWL) in its meeting held on December 16, 2017 recommended the proposal of doubling of South Western Railway track between Castle-rock-Kulem- Kalay-Margao Section to National Board of Wildlife for their consideration as per FCA, 1980; along with undertaking of the Railway authority based on recommendation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report prepared by Indian Institute of Science (Il.Se), Bangalore. The EIA report said that they will make provisions with properly designed under-passes and over-passes for wild animal crossing, wherever required along the track. These passages will be created as per the specifications prescribed in the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun contained in “Eco-Friendly measures to mitigate impacts of linear infrastructure on wildlife, 2016”.

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Railways has submitted the undertaking and has made provisions for 8 under-passes (4 in each section) for crossing of wild animals in consultation with Forest Department as part of annual Animal Passage Plan. The Board was informed that the proposal has already been sent to National Board of Wildlife.

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The Board decided that the User Agency shall deposit 3% of the project cost to the Forest department of Goa for utilizing this money for eco-restoration, prey augmentation, reducing public dependence on forests and promoting traditional livelihoods in and around the protected area.

Agenda 2-  The four-Laning of existing NH-4A in Goa Karnataka from km 84/133 to km. 977000 in the state of Goa in Anmod- Mollem Section.

The four-laning of the NH-4A over a distance of 13 km in the Anmod- Mollem section; passing through Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Mollem. 

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Total No of trees involved in felling from the PAs are 12.097 nos

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The breakup of land under forest cover that is required to be diverted for the project is given below:

(a) Total area of forest land from Protected Area (Wildlife Sanctuary- 6.75 Ha & National park24.265 Ha)

                          –  301 Ha

(b) Total area of forest land from Non-Protected Area

                        – 1.887 Ha

Total Area of forest land

     : 32.085 H

Some of the Board members expressed their concern over the need of the four-laning of road and that it may lead to damage to the wildlife sanctuary and animal habitat. 

The representatives of PWD informed that this road is facing huge traffic load, which is increasing day by day and accidents are taking place frequently. A presentation was made by the User Agency. 

They informed that heavy traffic on the road is leading to more noise and dust pollution. The present road condition has greater impact on wildlife leading to accidents both of human and wild animals, which need to be addressed.

PWD representatives explained that at present due to huge traffic wild animals are finding it difficult to cross the road; and provisions of three under-passes and one over-pass has been made as part of mitigation measure in the form of The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) that has been prepared by the Aaree Associates, Architect Engineers and Consultant Pvt. Ltd. Hyderabad. This is also in conformity with the guidelines issued by Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun for the linear road project. This provision will facilitate movement of wild animal from one side of the road to another side, which is missing.

Some members raised objections about the need for diversion of 33 Ha of forest (Wildlife Sanctuary) land.

On this point, PWD representative informed that the proposal entails the laying of a viaduct that will run parallel to the existing two-lane road for most of stretches from the valley side only; and that on a steep rocky face side of the existing road, cutting is involved. The provision for the Animal Passage Plan as per the requirement, which involves three under-passes and one over-pass has been made in the new designs. User Agency informed by user agency that out of about 31.015 Ha, only 11.10 Ha is required for permanent diversion and balance 19.915 Ha is required for temporary diversion for making 18 m temporary road for the movement of materials and machinery at the foot of the hill. This 19.915 Ha area shall be returned to the Forest department after completion of the project since the new alignment is 3 km shorter i.e. only 10 km.

After thorough discussions, the State Board for Wildlife recommended to send it to National Board for Wildlife for its consideration, with direction to the User Agency to minimise the damage to wildlife habitat and minimum felling of trees.

It was also decided that the User Agency shall deposit 3% of the project cost to the Forest Department of Goa for utilizing this money for eco-restoration, prey augmentation, reducing public dependence on forests and promoting traditional livelihoods in and around the protected area.

Agenda 3-  Laying of LILO (Line in Line out)of one CKT of Narendra (Existing)- Narendra (New) 400 KV D/C Quad transmission line at Xeldem.

Goa Tamnar transmission Project Ltd, Panjim has submitted a project proposal for laying of LILO(Line in Line Out) of one CKT of Narendra (Existing)–Narendra (New) 400 KV D/C Quad transmission line.

Goa Tamnar Transmission Projects Ltd is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed under the Electricity Act 2003, for participation in Development Transmission System under TBCB route. The Company is executing the transmission project to establish Transmission System for “Additional 400kV Feed to Goa and Additional System for Power Evacuation from Generation Projects pooled Tamnar) Pool”. 

At present, the demand of Goa is mainly catered through Mapusa 3×315 MVA, 400/220 kV substation, which gets its feed from Kolhapur 400 kV sub-station through a 400 kV D/c line. Goa system is also connected with Maharashtra and Karnataka through 220 kV lines. To supply the projected power requirement of Goa with reliability, an additional 400 kV, in feed to Goa, was required. 

The matter was discussed in the 38 meeting of Standing Committee on Power System Planning in Western Region, held on July, 17, 2015 at New Delhi, wherein the provision for a new 400KV S/s in Goa at Xeldem along with its interconnections with the Inter-State Transmission System was agreed. 

The new transmission line covers over a linear distance of approx. 2.51 kms and 46 m width of forest land of Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, Mollem.

The extent of area involved for diversion of forest for non-forestry purpose of Sanctuary area is 11.546 Ha. The breakup is as follows below. 

A) Total Forest Area: 48.30 Ha

B) Total area in PA: 11.54 Ha

C) Forest Area in Non-PA – :36.76 Ha

D) Total felling involved in PA :4139+985 cane clumps

Route starts from the sub-station at Sangodd and passes from Tambdi Surla till the Karnataka Border and encounters a forest area of 7.99 km (Reserve Forest area) and 2.51 km of Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, Mollem.

* The User Agency has completed enumeration of trees falling within the project areas and total numbers of trees enumerated are 4,139 nos of trees and 985 cane clumps. 

Some members objected to the proposal and wanted to know that why the present route was selected when it involves loss to Wildlife sanctuary and felling of about 4,139 trees. 

The representatives of User Agency, informed that three routes were identified initially for the said project but this route was selected in discussion with the Forest Department as it involves minimum wildlife sanctuary area damage to wildlife habitat. It was also informed that though as per the requirement, they have enumerated all trees lying below 400 KVa line but the actual number of trees required to be felled will be less. In most cases, lopping and branch cutting of trees will serve the purpose. Further, compensatory afforestation shall be done in double degraded forest land to compensate the loss of vegetation, due to diversion of forest.

The Board directed the User Agency to minimise and restrict cutting of trees below 1,000 trees, which was agreed by the proponent is agreed by the project proponent.

It was also decided that the User Agency shall deposit 3% of the project cost to the Forest Department of Goa for utilizing this money for eco-restoration, prey augmentation, reducing public dependence on forests and promoting traditional livelihoods in and around the protected area.

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