Locals enough to look after biodiversity interests: Goa CM

Panaji, Feb 5 (IANS) Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday said the people of Goa are enough to look after the interests of Mollem, a forest village which is home to the proposed road, rail and power projects and which has faced severe protests from green activists and legislators, both from the opposition and treasury benches.Speaking at the inauguration of a bird festival in Mollem, located in the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, Sawant also said it was important to open up protected forest areas for the general public, so that they can see and understand the importance of biodiversity.”Mollem is not just popular in Goa and India, but internationally too, for various reasons now. With the inauguration of a biodiversity park and the hosting of the fourth bird festival in Mollem, I want to tell everyone that we are more concerned about Mollem and Goa. People from Mollem and Goa are enough to take care of Mollem,” Sawant said at the inaugural function in the Mollem village, located around 60 km from Panaji.Sawant’s comments come a day after he alleged an international conspiracy to derail the three projects — South Western Railway track doubling, National Highway-4 expansion and drawing of a power transmission line — in and around the protected forests of Mollem.”Goa has been a victim of propaganda for the past several months, which has been significantly fuelled by external forces. Some of the opposition parties in Goa have also been motivating such external forces to create an unrest in the state,” Sawant tweeted on Thursday.Sawant also said that it was important to open up the forested areas to visitors as well as take steps to preserve the biodiversity of such areas.”If we preserve and show these areas like the Dudhsagar waterfall and the Mahadev temple to people only then it will be of true benefit to Goa and international and national tourists. If we insist that no one should go to these forests then, then no one will be able to see the birds and other biodiversity elements in these forests. But it has to be done in a balanced manner,” the Chief Minister said.The Dudhsagar waterfall is a popular tourist site, while the Mahadev temple is a 12th century temple site, both located in the vicinity of Mollem.–IANSmaya/dpb

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