PANJIM: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been accused of neglecting the conservation of the Basilica at Old Goa. Rector of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Fr Patricio Fernandes has expressed utter displeasure over the attitude of the ASI team as he apprehends negligence will damage the age-old structure.
“As a result of ASI’s sheer negligence, I wish to highlight the colossal negligence, incompetence and inefficiency of the ASI, which claims to be dedicated to the protection, preservation and conservation of the national monuments,in ensuring the proper maintenance of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a world heritage monument,” the Rector said in a 6-page letter to the ASI Goa Circle, Old Goa.
He alleged that due to the negligence, the Basilica has sustained considerable damage in the past few days and is in serious danger of further deterioration. He said ASI’s indifference towards the Basilica, which is considered of religious and tourist importance all over the world for several centuries, has been most shocking and unacceptable. “Whether it has been the shoddy repair work, the poor drinking water and toilet facilities, lack of barricades or general maintenance work, the ASI has been guilty of gross neglect,” he adds.
The delay in roof repairs has also been highlighted. The Rector brought to the notice of the ASI that the present situation of the neglected side roof of the Basilica has caused immense loss, because the wood and the walls are wet and they will easily be attacked by termites, destroying the centuries-old structure as well as posing a serious threat to the entire wooden floors and Altars of the Basilica. The toilets too are not repaired for three years and no safety measures are in place despite alleged threats to the security at the world heritage monument.
“If this is the attitude of the ASI, then it might as well relinquish its claim to be protectors, preservers and conservators of the Basilica. Utmost urgency, efficiency and competency are needed for immediate maintenance work, to ensure that the Basilica is not only protected, preserved and conserved for the present generation, but is safeguarded and remains intact for the benefit of the future generations,” Fernandes said.