Masterplan for conserving world heritage monuments in Old Goa

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Panaji, Jul 17 (UNI) Facing a threat of delisting from the category of world heritage monuments by the UNESCO, the Goa government is preparing a master plan for Old Goa where more than half a dozen monuments are located.

A legislation on the lines of the Karnataka's world heritage monument complex of Hampi for overall conservation and development of Old Goa's monuments would be enacted to give legal status to the action plan, Chief Secretary J P Singh told newspersons here today.

He said the government had constituted a ''core group'' headed by noted architect Dean D'Cruz and consisting of representatives of the Archeaological Survey of India(ASI), Tourism Department and others for preparing the masterplan before this year-end.

The core group had been constitued following his recent meeting with all the stake holders for conservation and protection of the centuries-old monuments in Old Goa visited every year by thousands of tourists, both domestic and foreign, besides Catholic Christian pilgrims.

The Tourism Department, he said, has appointed the nodal agency and the committee would submit its report by September this year listing various parametres for conservation of the monuments and development of Old Goa involving all the stake-holders.

In the second phase, a detailed strategy with a tourism master plan based on the recommendations would be prepared by the year-end.

Giving legal status to the authority to be constituted for implementing the master plan on the Hampi model, would ensure uninterrupted efforts to enforce the programme, he added.

Old Goa, which was the original seat of the Portuguese, now houses about eight structures, mostly ancient churches including St Francis Xavier church where relics of the saint were well preserved and St Cathedral besides an exquisite ASI museum with a variety of collections.

Another marvellous structure was St Augustine church complex which was being renovated and structures preserved with the involvement of the ASI.

It might be recalled that the ASI experts had uncovered the remains of Queen Catherina of Georgia who attained sainthood.

Efforts to tally the remains were underway with the USA and Georgia.

The ASI authorities however feel that lack of adequate funds and interference of the Church in maintenance of the monuments were hampering the conservation and developmental activities in Old Goa.

Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado during his recent visit had assured the Goa government that his government would extend technical help to Indian archaeologists for conserving the heritage monuments in Old Goa.

UNI BM VK RJ RAI2114

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