Current Affairs

Church clarifies stance on ‘Adopt Heritage Scheme’ in Goa

The Roman Catholic Church in Goa on Wendesday clarified that it had agreed to participate in the ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ proposed by the Centre, after its conditions were agreet to by the Goa Government.

In a statement, Fr J Loiola Pereira and Fr. Valeriano Vaz, spokespersons of the church, said the Director of the Directorate of Archives and Archaeology, Government of Goa, invited representatives of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman to participate in a meeting called by the Minister of Town and Country Planning, to discuss about the scheme, in which the Chief Secretary, Directors of the State Archives and Archaeology as well as of the State Tourism Departments, ASI officials, the Parish Priest of the Cathedral Church and the Rector of the Bom Jesus Basilica were also asked to participate.

The meeting took place in the Goa Secretariat on May 7, 2018, and the Archdiocese was represented by Frs. Valeriano Vaz, Loiola Pereira and Anthony Fernandes.

The “Adopt a Heritage Scheme” was explained and put forward for discussion. The Chef Secretary explained that the Scheme envisaged to enhance the cultural importance of the heritage site and to provide world class tourist facilities at the various sites across the country. This would include basic (and, wherever needed, advanced) amenities, illumination, surveillance, etc with safety and security to visitors, “within permissible guidelines of the ASI.”

Corporates and individuals, to be called “Monument Mitras” would be invited to provide peripheral facilities to the visitors, without touching the core of the monument or carrying out any conservation or restoration works, which would remain vested with the ASI. or the State Archaeology Department as the case may be.

During the discussion that followed, the representatives of the Archdiocese pointed out that the Church, being the owner of the Catholic religious sites in Old Goa, cannot be ignored or excluded from any MOUs that may be eventually drawn with regard to the provision of the aforesaid peripheral infrastructures or amenities. On these conditions, the church representatives agreed with the rest of the participants that the proposed “Adopt a Heritage Scheme” should not be rejected.

It was also agreed that the Archdiocese, as the owner of the monuments, would draw up an “NOC” listing all the conditions/restrictions/safeguards which it might deem fit in each case. Therefore, no intervention at the selected church sites would be allowed without the consent of the Diocesan Authority, which would draw up this NOC after due consultation at various levels.

It was also agreed that the Archdiocese would also figure in the proposed “Monument Committee,” which would, among other things, monitor the execution of the NOC, they said.

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