The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has requested the Goa government to convene a special meeting between Old Goa locals and ASI officials to sort out differences over alleged unauthorized work on in the Bishops’ Old Palace.
It has also issued a notice to MLA Pandurang Madkaikar for demolishing an old stone wall and replacing it with a wire-mesh fence.
ASI additional director general Pravin Srivastava told GoaChronicle.com on Friday, “I have been told about the issues. We have requested the state government and other authorities to convene a meeting of all the parties involved to work out an amicable solution. After all, all are working to preserve and conserve the world heritage site.”
Expressing hope that the government will call the meeting soon, Srivastava denied that ASI officials are carrying out the work without the church’s knowledge. “I don’t think that is correct as no organization could be occupying space without the knowledge of the owners and that too for 35 years. It must be a case of misrepresentation of facts,” he said.
He added that ASI has the authority to undertake conservation and protection works or its own works.
“In this instance, ASI has been occupying some place within the church’s premises, but I am not aware if the church is aware of this,” said Srivastava, adding, “The church should have been kept informed.”
As for the environmental damage and rampant development around the world heritage site, raised by the locals during a recent dharna, Srivastava said the ASI has no control over tree cutting.
“But we are concerned about our protected monuments and if there is anything happening in the buffer zone then action could be taken against the illegal activities through certain provisions in the law,” he said.
He hoped that the state government would prepare a masterplan soon to protect the world heritage site.