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Drone image showing Barazan and Sukhtollem

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Casarvanem forests

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The Barazan sacred grove

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Left: wings of hornbills

Right: rock lizard found in Barazan

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Waterways and aqua ducts at Mopa

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The great indian striped milipede and the zebra butterfly

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Carpet of flowers growing on the Mopa plateau

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More flowers found on the Mopa plateau

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Dense forest area in the Mopa plateau

ECOLOGICAL DISASTER

Pics don't lie: would you rather preserve these beauties or build Mopa airport?

Nihar Gokhale @nihargokhale

Chameleons change colour to protect themselves from predators. But for Goa's Mopa plateau, predators have called the shots on what colour it will change to.

We have written about how the proposed airport at Mopa, the second in Goa, will displace leopards, bisons and countless wild animals, birds and plants. The clearance process has holes, and it has recently come under judicial scrutiny.

Read- Disaster airport: Goa's new runway in Mopa will run the ecology over

As the issue heats up, as it surely will, many in power will justify the project for its economic benefits. They will make their own assessments to show down costs, using tools and tricks we have grown used to.

But there's no better way to assess damage to nature than by seeing it.

See, with your own eyes, chameleons, birds and lush green farmlands.

See the forests. The government may cautiously classify them "fairly moderately dense." But one look and you will know that the forest has sheltered life that's millennia old. That it has birds, such as the great pied hornbill, which surpass all sense of beauty. That is has reptiles you have never crossed paths with before.

See water springing up from holes, gushing out all year long. Witness the fertility it spreads all around.

Soak in the sights now. And don't forget them when, five years later, you land on a barren tarmac they call Mopa airport.

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Nihar Gokhale

Nihar Gokhale @nihargokhale