“I am the greatest environmentalist, but …”: Gadkari defends Goa infra projects | Latest India News


PANAJI: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday that opposition to infrastructure projects in Goa is hampering economic development that could help people find jobs and get out of the country. poverty.

“I am the greatest environmentalist. I don’t write books. I have an NGO that works in water conservation. He also won an award. Ecology and the environment must be protected. I brought alternative fuel to India. Ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, bio CNG, electric and now green hydrogen. We should all do better to get international credentials, but the economy is also important so people can find jobs and poverty is reduced. There has to be a balance between the two, hand in hand, ”Gadkari told reporters at a press conference.

Gadkari highlighted his green initiatives, including the introduction of ethanol-based motor gasoline and the promotion of CNG and electric buses, to indicate that the environment and the economy must go hand in hand.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s remarks referred to opposition to infrastructure projects in Goa, including the double-track railway, the widening of the Goa-Hubli (Karnataka) highway to four tracks and a new power line. All three are proposed to pass through the Western Ghats.

Goa has seen massive protests against the projects, especially the railway project, fearing that with a double line more coal and coal dust will be moved onto the railway tracks, spewing dust in the port city as well as in the villages along the road.

The railway line, by far the largest of the three, will also result in the diversion of 114 hectares of Western Ghats forest land from the protected area and the felling of 18,541 trees.

The second is the plan to modernize a two-lane highway built by the Portuguese colonial government between Panaji in Goa and Belgavi in ​​Karnataka. According to the government plan, as there are long stretches where it would not be possible to widen the existing road due to the difficult terrain, it is proposed to build new roads on viaduct structures parallel to the existing road to these places,

This highway extension project is expected to cost the small coastal state 31.015 ha of forest land and 12,097 trees.

Third, a 400 KV power line, 3.5 km of which runs through the protected forest, to increase the power supply between Goa and Karnataka to provide additional power to Goa is also proposed.

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