Clarifies that as owner of churches at Old Goa, it cannot be ignored or excluded from MoU under ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme and that NOC from them would be made mandatory
PANJIM: The Church authorities on Wednesday said the Church being the owner of the Catholic religious sites in Old Goa, it cannot be ignored or excluded from any Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) over development of the sites under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme and that a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from them would be made mandatory.
Following an uproar over handling over of 17 monuments from Goa to private firms under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme, the State Archives and Archeology minister Vijai Sardesai had held a meeting of Church and government officials on May 7. It was clarified that no monuments would be handed over to anyone but it would be only development of world-class amenities.
The monuments include – Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral – at Old Goa. The church authorities have agreed not to say no to the proposed scheme.
“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,” Church spokesman Fr J Loiola Pereira and Fr Valerino Vaz said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
They said that during the meeting 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,” the Church said.
It was also agreed that the Archdiocese would figure in the proposed “Monument Committee,” which would, among other things, monitor the execution of the said NOC, it added.
“The Chief Secretary explained that the scheme envisages to enhance the cultural importance of the heritage site and to provide world class tourist facilities at the various sites across the country,” the statement adds.
“This would include basic (and, wherever needed, advanced) amenities, illumination, surveillance, etc with safety and security to visitors, “within permissible guidelines of the Archeological survey of india,” they have said.
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, the statement reads.