PANAJI: Pressure from Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant, ministers, politicians and people has worked wonders in getting the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to act with urgency in undertaking repair work at the Basilica of Bom Jesus at Old Goa within the two weeks allotted to them, said Rector Fr Patricio Fernandes in a press release.
Political leaders began pressurising the ASI to expedite the repair work within two weeks as soon as the Rector highlighted the considerable damage at the Basilica after unseasonal rains entered through the exposed roof on the side wing of World Heritage Site.
After the visit of Ports Minister Michael Lobo on April 23, work on the rafters and beams began and within three days, work commenced to place the GI sheets on the roof, Fr Fernandes stated.
Within the next five days, the entire side roof was covered with GI sheets and simultaneously the rafters were placed on the GI sheets, to place the tiles and cover the roof.
Even some anti-termite solution has been applied to the wood. When the roof is complete, the ASI will spray the area for anti-termite protection, he stated.
“Had they to work as they have been doing now with urgency and determination, they would have finished the work very well on time within two months and would given us the repaired roof and the ceiling by March,” said Fr Fernandes.
“However, I am convinced that once the damage is done, we have to assure that the entire complex is professionally protected against termites. The statues on the Altars are already showing sign of deterioration.”
The meeting convened by Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant along with representatives of the church, ASI and government officials, on May 1, did not take place on account of Labour Day and has been rescheduled on Tuesday, May 5.
Meanwhile, political leaders continued to meet the Rector and take stock of the situation at the Basilica. On Saturday, South Goa MP Francisco Ssardinha and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar visisted the Basilica of Bom Jesus and assurde the Rector that they will request the Centre to ensure the restoration and protection of the monument.