Goa government to constitute committee to protect Basilica, Church monuments 

Gomantak Times
Thursday, 7 May 2020

Sawant said that the committee will be formed on the lines of one constituted at Hampi-Karnataka and asked the ASI officials to furnish details of the committee functioning in Hampi-Karnataka and together with the Church and State officials to arrive at a unique way of how the committee could function in Goa. 

PANAJI: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has proposed to constitute a committee consisting of representatives of the ASI, State officials and a representative of the Goa and Daman Archdiocese to expedite not only the urgent matters concerning the conservation, protection and restoration of the Basilica of Bom Jesus and the cluster of Church monuments at Old Goa. 

On Tuesday Sawant held a meeting of all stakeholders to discuss on the issues concerning monuments of Old Goa. 

Deputy Chief Minister Chandrakant (Babu) Kavlekar, PWD Minister Deepak Pauskar, Sant Andre MLA Francis Silveira, Chif Secretary Parimal Rai, Basilica of Bom Jesus Rector Fr Patricio Fernandes along with the members of the administrative committee of the Basilica, ASI superintending archaeologist K Amarnath Ramakrishna and ASI officials and other State officials attended the meeting. 

After the meeting, Sawant said that the committee will be formed on the lines of one constituted at Hampi-Karnataka and asked the ASI officials to furnish details of the committee functioning in Hampi-Karnataka and together with the Church and State officials to arrive at a unique way of how the committee could function in Goa. 

The Chief Minister has asked the Chief Secretary to go through the rules and regulations of the committee formed in Hampi and to immediately notify the committee. 

He said that formation of the committee will help the ASI, State and Church to collaboratively work to conserve, restore and protect the cluster of heritage monuments at Old Goa. 

Expressing his satisfaction over the meeting, Rector Fr Fernandes said that the meting of the new committee will be convened within a period of two months to sort out the issues and plan and implement the works at Old Goa. 

Deputy Chief Minister Babu Kavlekar informed that the works of the two protected monuments in Old Goa which come under the ASI namely St Francis Xavier Chapel and Our Lady of the Mont will begin soon. 

PWD Minister Deepak Pauskar also assured the meeting that the PWD will undertake the works of water treatment plant and other pending works for the pilgrims at the Basilica. 

Chief Secretary Parimal Rai also realised the difficulties in the administrative processes in the bureaucracy and encouraged the Church and the ASI to call on him on any issue pertaining to the conservation of monuments in the State and assured to connect with higher-ups in New Delhi and resolve the problems, instead of struggling with them and arriving at no solutions. He immediately called the officers in Delhi and asked them to expedite the proposals pending at their offices, Fr Fernandes informed. 

Some of the issues discussed at the meeting included insufficient funds for ASI to carry on work on 21 monuments, need for experienced engineers at the ASI Goa circle, need for a chemical branch at ASI Goa, the anti-termite treatment and fumigation as the next priority at the Basilica, the cleaning of tiles before re-fixing them on rafters, the water seepage above the mausoleum containing the relics of St Francis Xavier and the expectation of the public that a professional job of conservation be done on some aspects of the Basilica. 

The master plan for Old Goa and implementation of the prohibited and regulated zones were also deliberated at the meeting, according to Fr Fernandes. 

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