The Goa Foundation has read, with consternation, the bare-faced claim of the officials of the Tamnar Project 400 kV High Tension Line project in connection with the number of trees required for the ill-advised project. The project officials have stated in the media that their requirement is only 14,000 trees.

The Goa Foundation is releasing documents to show that the actual extent of trees needed for the project from Narendra in Karnataka to Xeldem in Goa is an astronomical 131,082 trees, most of which fall within the biodiversity-rich Western Ghats region and its ESAs (Eco Sensitive Areas). The detailed table of tree felling requirements for the Tamnar Project is annexed to this press note.

The project requirement for the Karnataka side is 62289 trees, whereas in Goa, it is 68793 (total: 131,082).

The project has already illegally felled 2849 trees on Sy.No.21/1 of Sangod village, in connection with which the High Court at Goa has admitted a writ petition filed by the Foundation.

For the Sangod-Mapusa stretch, the Tamnar Project has sought permission for diversion of forest land involving 18427 trees. From Goa border to Xeldem, the number of forest trees sought to be diverted is 15,772. From Xeldem to Sangod, the number of trees listed for forest clearance is 9002. All these figures are taken from applications for forest clearance or for permission under the Goa Protection of Trees Act, 1984 available under RTI and from MOEF’s website.

In addition to the above, the Tamnar Project has sought the approval of the Goa government to short circuit its applications for 22140 trees to be felled in private properties by excluding the trees from the purview of the Goa Protection of Trees, Act, 1984. The permission has since been granted by the Chief Minister himself, despite the fact that the application has been made by TAMNAR and not the individual landowners. Copy of the file notings dealing with the approvals granted for felling 22,140 trees, obtained under RTI, is attached to this note.

The Ministry of Environment & Forests has permitted the loss of these trees to be compensated by growing trees in Karnataka! Goa government is paying the Karnataka government the money to raise “compensatory afforestation” in several districts of Karnataka. One of the plots selected by the Karnataka forest department is a plot of barren land in the midst of Karwar city! In effect this means that Goa is losing not only its trees, but its forest land as well is decreasing.