MARGAO: Joining the long list of those who have filed objections against proposed eco-tourism luxury resort in Old Goa that was cleared by the Investment Promotion Board (IPB) is the Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG), which has simultaneously demanded that a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) plan be prepared first before such type of projects are proposed near any heritage sites.
GHAG, which submitted its objection to the Directorate of Industries, Trade and Commerce, stated that the demarcation of a 100-metre buffer zone for the State protected heritage site ‘Chapel of the Monte’ is in progress.
“The proposed project appears to encompass a significant portion of this buffer zone, yet no Heritage Impact Assessment, a crucial document for minimising threats, is available for public review. Thus, it is premature to consider such a project,” said GHAG in its letter.
GHAG also touched upon the potential impact on the ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ (OUV) of the world heritage sites.
“The proposed project is within 1 km of the 6 monuments listed as World Heritage Site ‘Churches and Convents of Goa’. A holistic HIA is necessary to determine development that won’t adversely affect the OUV of this significant heritage asset of Goa,” they added.
GHAG also remarked about the ironical situation wherein on one hand, the State government has sought its help with the proposal for a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Kaavi art, while on the other hand, the unique chapel ‘Our Lady of the Mount’, which has one of the finest examples of Kaavi art in the country, could be destroyed.
GHAG also highlighted various other points such as the absence of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study even though the proposed project requires extensive hill cutting and retaining wall activities, which they added could have adverse impacts.
GHAG further referred to the project’s incompatibility with zone change, climate change and natural disaster risks, inadequate access, and biodiversity concerns.
They urged IPB to respect the TCP-initiated notifications for all buffers, both for nationally important (14 sites) and for state-listed monuments (6 sites). GHAG also advised IPB to adhere to the National Monuments Authority (NMA) instruction to State Town and Country (TCP) department to frame building bye-laws for the regulated zones.