Department of Archives and Archaeology to conduct stability audit of protected monuments for first time
PANJIM: In a first such exercise of mammoth proportions, Department of Archives and Archaeology will undertake a stability audit of all protected monuments identified in Goa to estimate their lifespan. Though the department has maintained these structures, including some ancient ones dating to before the Christian era, the department has never conducted an audit to ascertain their stability.
The department has listed nearly 51 monuments and structures under the protected category. These include ruins, chapels, convents, churches, temples, forts, caves and others. This year, it has taken up restoration of four forts, one temple and opening up of access to a fort and chapel by spending around Rs 18-20 crore. The project is currently in the pipeline.
Speaking to Herald, Assistant Superintending Archaeologist, Dr Varad Sabins said the audit of the monuments will be taken up in the future. “So far, we have not conducted any audit of these monuments. Hence, there is not much clarity about their life span. But in order to increase their lifespan, annual maintenance and restoration, as and when required is undertaken,” he said.
Sabins said that the structures being old, their maintenance in their original form becomes difficult and is time consuming. “We just cannot appoint a contractor or give a contract to PWD or GSIDC to maintain or restore them. They have historical, archaeological importance and we have to preserve this,” he explained, stating that departmental experts are the only ones drafted for such activities.
The department has currently taken up restoration work of the Jain Basti at Bandora in Ponda (phase one completed), Alorna fort in Pernem and Saptkoteshwar temple at Narve in Bicholim taluka. It will also be taking up restoration of Sanquelim fort, Khorjuve fort, Cabo-de-Rama fort, while creating new access to Chapora fort and St Jerome Chapel at Chorao.
“We cannot say by when the project will be completed. But as far as Saptkoteshwar temple restoration is concerned, the deadline set is April 2019. The temple will be completing 350 years of its existence. It was built by Shivaji Maharaj,” Sabins said.
He said that restoration of all the monuments and sites would be taken up in a phased manner but priority would be given to those which are in a dilapidated condition.
Government has already constituted a sub-committee of experts to draft the State Heritage Policy that would decide on the conservation and protection of heritage structures besides giving them a particular look.