Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG) has expressed concern over The Goa Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill that was passed recently and alleged that it has been done to hand over national heritage to the five star lobby.
Noted historian and Executive Committee Member of GHAG Prajal Sakhardande said that the 51 monuments notified by the State government due to their historic importance would be handed over to private enterprises.
GHAG has taken exception to replacing the word “maintain” with new terms like ‘renovation’, ‘re-erection’ and ‘re-construction’ and questioned the need to implement the Act passed in March 2010 with retrospective effect from March 2007.
Prajal Sakhardande expressed fears that the changes in the Act are aimed to allow any institution other than the government to adapt and reuse ancient monuments which in the long run would rub the sheen of the monument’s heritage and glory.
He asserted that the government’s intention in amending the Act were suspect given the fact that earlier there the Cabo de Rama fort was sought to be de-notified as a heritage monument to enable an European company to take it over. Incidentally, the Cabo de Rama fort which today has a chapel in it built by the Portuguese, is believed to be one of the places where Lord Rama took shelter along with his wife Sita during his period in exile.
Poonam Verma Mascarenhas, founder member of GHAG reminded that the government was merely a caretaker of heritage monuments and not their owner and said the organization had petitioned Governor Dr. S S Sidhu seeking his intervention in ensuring that heritage monuments remain a “collective heritage” of the people.