Restored in 2012, the statue of the mermaid in Panjim’s Mermaid Garden has been vandalised yet again; Abject apathy towards heritage and important tourist attraction sites evident again
Vandalism of ancient buildings, statues and heritage places in Goa has now become very common. One such example is the lone one-of-its kind porcelain statue of a mermaid, from which the garden takes its name ‘Mermaid Garden’. The garden itself needs a lot more care but that’s another story. This one is about the vandalised mermaid from whom the garden gets its name.
The Mermaid Garden is one of the most important heritage sites in the Capital city, Panjim. However, in the recent past this heritage Mermaid statue has been in bad shape and the garden has also been neglected by the authorities with no restoration work.
As Team Herald visited the garden in Panjim it was revealed that the iconic mermaid statue had been vandalised and it was also seen that the garden premises were utterly in ugly shape.
Many say this statue is over 250 years old and had been installed during the Portuguese era. In 2012 it was discovered that it was made of porcelain after the artists starting scrapping the texture of the statue. It was also found that there were over 18 layers of paint on the entire surface, leaving the sculptors shocked.
That year, the mermaid statue was restored for the first time with the efforts of NGO Goa for Giving, by bringing in famous sculptor Ghanashym Chari. The statue was officially inaugurated on the occasion of Goa Liberation Day but now again it has been the second time that this statue has been vandalised leaving it in bad state.
Speaking to Herald, Goa for Giving Founder-Chairman, Armando Gonsalves said, “This mermaid statue is very old and today I am shocked to see the statue vandalised again. Our NGO Goa for Giving had restored the mermaid statue in 2012 by bringing in two famous sculptors, one of them being Ghanashym Chari.”
“This statue is vandalised and chipped on purpose by some unknown miscreants and thus has resulted severe damage. Both the nipples have been chipped off. Since it is made of porcelain it is very difficult to restore the statue and the last time we repaired it almost took two months for the sculptors to get it fully restored,” he said.
“This type of heritage places should be protected by the authorities and in my suggestion there should be an enclosure around the statue itself and it should be shifted to a museum, wherein it will be safe from being vandalised again and again,” he added
As Herald spoke to the locals it was revealed that the government authorities and the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) have failed to protect the important heritage sites.
"CCP is not aware of who are restoring and painting the mermaid statue. A lot of projects are being taken by the GSIDC without taking CCP into confidence. Once I receive the letter I will ask the Commissioner to take action," said CCP Mayor, Surendra Furtado
“Goa is a touristic place and we should be ashamed that the government is not taking any cognizance of such beautiful statues. Nowhere in India will you find such a statue of mermaid. Goa should be proud but there are some people for whom destruction lies in their blood and these people should be punished,” said Vinod Kadam, a Panjim resident.
Another resident had this to say, “the government should install CCTVs at such places and this can help trace the culprits who destroy such important heritage sites.”