The commercial capital has some beautiful structures that are a fine example of their style; Maintenance, however, is a mixed bag with efforts led by a department that is not really clued into the work; They have washed their hands off the effort and would like the state government to create a policy
The commercial capital of Margao more known for its trade and commerce, markets and trading families, is often forgotten for its heritage structures, history and beautiful Portuguese homes. While construction is on the rise and buildings have replaced the heritage structures, fewer and fewer homes of the Portuguese era prevail in Margao and its suburbs of Fatorda, Borda, Aquem and Gogol. But the city father’s themselves wash their hands clean and feel there’s little they can do and they want a state government policy defining heritage, a state government survey identifying heritage and also then funding for maintenance.
“The first question to ask is about ownership. Most heritage structures have private owners, some are aboard while some are here and everybody takes the liberty to decide how to maintain or tear down their places. After all heritage structures have high walls, heavy plaster and the upkeep is very expensive, while the municipality has no funding for heritage but just only a heritage committee,” explains deputy chairperson Tito Cardozo.
While Chairperson Dr Babita Prabhudessai explains to us that even government owned building of the Portuguese era is owned by various departments and the MMC has no control on them.
“For the first time, I have kept a budget of Rs 50 lakhs for maintenance of the Margao Municipal building and another Rs 20 lakh for maintenance of the furniture but then again that’s still a small amount. In terms of heritage around the city, we have no control over it. The state needs to first identify what falls under the purview of heritage and the come up with a policy and rules. But Margao municipality cannot do much to conserve the heritage of the city accept for a few properties owned by itself,” explains the chairperson.
While well-known historian Sanjeev Sardessai explains to us that Margao has a very rich heritage, which sadly has been given a step motherly treatment by the locals themselves. While John Carmo Rodrigues, another well-known senior citizen points out to the Herald story that highlighted the statues and busts of great Goan personalities in Margao town and says that it was important to highlight those at a time when politics to erect new statues takes more focus .