After initial protest, the Goa government today decided not to oppose listing of the states heritage monuments under a central government project designed to rope in private and public firms for maintaining such structures.
The project, adopt a heritage, has been started by the Union tourism ministry with an aim to entrust heritage sites and monuments and other tourist places to private and public sector companies and also individuals for the development of tourist amenities.
It is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and State/UTs governments.
A high-level meeting, chaired by Goa Archives and Archaeology Minister Vijai Sardesai, resolved not to oppose the adoption of heritage monuments under the project.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of Archbishop of Goa, Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, the parish priest of Se Cathedral and the rector of Basilica of Bom Jesus, both located at Old Goa, along with government officials, including Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma.
After the meeting, Sardesai said the stakeholders discussed in detail “pros and cons” of the project and arrived at a conclusion that the scheme is “not about taking over (of) the monuments” (by private entities).
“It is about preserving monuments as per international standards. That is why we felt we should not say `no to the project.
“By and large we reached the conclusion that the adopt a heritage scheme is in the interest of Goa if implemented properly,” the minister said.
The governments stand is in stark contrast to the one taken last week when Sardesai had claimed local authorities were not taken into confidence while listing monuments under the project.
Sardesai had said six monuments in Goa, including the Basilica of Bom Jesus at Old Goa, were listed by the Union tourism ministry for adoption.
The minister today said “not just the state government but Church authorities, too, do not have any objection to the implementation of the project.
“We realised the project can be actually used to harness more footfalls and help build world-class infrastructure at the monuments.”
Sardesai said the question of any damage to monuments does not arise as the project does not permit any tinkering with the core areas of these sites.
The minister said the project can be implemented at churches or temples of monumental value only after taking a `no objection certificate from their management.
“So the interest of everybody, including the state, religious monuments, institutions that runs these monuments, the Archaeological Survey of India and the private party is protected,” Sardesai said.
Recently, a controversy erupted when the Central government decided to give the Red Fort to a corporate, Dalmia Bharat, for upkeep