10 May 2020  |   05:28am IST

MY WAY OR YOUR WAY, WE NEED TO FIND THAT WAY

The debate on the conservation of monuments, may have been restricted to the Basilica of Bom Jesus at Old Goa. Yet, it is not just the Basilica Goa that is in need of urgent intervention. All the churches that have been identified as UNESCO World Heritage Monuments are in need of conservation. HERALD REVIEW gets experts to write on the roadmap for the monuments
MY WAY OR YOUR WAY, WE NEED TO FIND THAT WAY

Issues highlighted by Basilica Rector

 

TOILETS NOT REPAIRED FOR 3 YEARS

Toilets at Basilica, maintained by ASI, are in a state of utter neglect and in need of constant repairs and replacement

NO SAFETY MEASURES DESPITE THREATS TO SECURITY

With thousands of people visiting the Basilica, the place should be equipped with necessary and adequate security measures. Constant pleas to barricade the place from entrance to exit, with security checks at the entry-point have fallen on deaf ears. Finally, an entry and an exit was implemented, but people were not checked and so, both sides were being used as entry and exit points.

NO PROPER LANDSCAPING FOR PAVEMENTS AT NORTH GATE

From the North Gate entry, the area has been uneven and ASI undertook work to put it in place. But it has not kept landscaping in mind and constructed a pavement which is higher than the ground, posing a threat to elderly people and children. The work undertaken in January is still pending.

WOODEN ALTARS IN DANGER OF CRUMBLING DUE TO TERMITES:

It has been pointed out to ASI to take cognisance of termites attacking the altars and the statues. For years, the ancient altars and priceless statues – true heritage artefacts – have been left to crumble, due to sheer neglect.

 PAINTINGS IN THE BASILICA:

Experts and art lovers who understand art conservation and restoration have assessed that the invaluable paintings in the Basilica are being destroyed.

  

MAUSOLEUM AND THE MASTRILLIAN CASKET:

The Mausoleum, which contains the Sacred Relics of St Francis Xavier, has been collecting dust. The Bronze reliefs have turned green. The unique Mastrillian casket, if not attended to with utmost urgency, will fall apart within a few years.

 

NEGLECT OF INTERIOR REPAIR WORKS

The walls at the Basilica are crumbling. The repair work of windows has been shoddy and substandard, with holes left by the side, latches of poor quality and windows which do not shut properly.

 

NO BLUEPRINT FOR RESTORATION, PROTECTION OF THE BASILICA

ASI was to undertake professional lighting of the Basilica. In order to undertake any professional work, a blueprint of the monument is necessary. Suggestions have been furnished and letters have been submitted for a blueprint, but nothing seems to be happening.

 

WHAT THE BASILICA HAS SUGGESTED

 

·

         Architects and experts must assess the damage and submit a report to competent church and civic authorities.

·

         Immediate measures to be undertaken to prevent termite menace in the entire Basilica structure.

·

         Safety of the walls of the Basilica and Quadrangle has to be assessed and work has to be implemented.

·

         In the future, any restoration or protection work has to be strictly maintained in a report to competent church and civic authorities, with the time duration clearly specified for planning and execution of the work.

·

         Restoration work must be done not by any convenient bidder/tender, but only by those who can truly and professionally restore the work.

 

 

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List of works on Old Goa monuments by ASI during last five years

 

 

 

Basilica of Bom Jesus

- Highly-decorated architectural wooden panels form the transept at the crossing of main altar repaired after strengthening with teak wood planks, replacing decayed wooden panels and pegs with new ones. Entire panel treated with anti-termite treatment

- White washing quadrangle area of the Church in view of the novena and feast annually

- Decayed/damaged wooden windows of Church replaced with the new ones and painted

- Visitor benches in church complex repaired and painted

 

 

Se Cathedral

- Entire complex - Se Cathedral and Basilica – provided with area lighting

- Sunken and undulated main roof of Se Cathedral dismantled and repaired

- The filled up area of platform behind the Se Cathedral leveled

- Raised height of wall in front of Se Cathedral, constructed in laterite stone masonry in lime mortar

- Repairs to roof work of Se Cathedral Sacrament

- Damaged asbestos roof of northern bell tower replaced by laying wooden frame work

- Old decayed wooden window shutter and frames replaced behind main altar, sides of altar, facade windows

- Loose lime plaster of old compound wall inside church complex re-plastered

- Loose lime plaster of skirting portion re-plastered

- Compound wall painted and visitor benches repaired and painted

 

 

Chapel of St Cajetan

- Detached side altars due to decayed wooden pegs and rusted nails dismantled and re­-fixed to original place after strengthening

- Decayed/deteriorated portion of steps and landing of pulpit strengthened. Entire decayed/deteriorated wooden ceiling and steps of bell towers – northern and southern side – replaced

- Missing wooden balusters and handrail of railing on choir area provided with new balusters with similar design and carving

- Undulated and sunken apron on southern side of church provided with laterite stone apron

- Repairs to wooden railing inside the church

- Damaged window of bell tower provided with new one

- Damaged exit door of bell tower repaired

- Undulated rear Mangalore tiled roof repaired

 

 

 

Church and Convent of St Francis of Assisi

- Ugly looking asbestos ceiling of museum gallery provided with pinewood false ceiling with slates in between trusses

- Sunken/undulated Mangalore tiled roof of museum repaired by replacing decayed wooden beams and rafters

- Entrance of museum provided with Mangalore tiled roof along with pine wood false ceiling

- Loose and peel-off wall plaster of conference hall of museum de-plastered and re-plastered

 

 

Chapel of St Catherine

- Fallen portion of boundary wall behind the Chapel and raised height of the wall

 

 

Church of St Augustine

- Work of removal of debris/earth with laterite stone members completed

- Lightening protection system installed

- Cast iron signages, tourist benches, barricade railing provided

- Restoration and water-tightening work in refectory portion of complex attended

- Construction of compound wall work in progress

- Drinking water facility work in progress

 

 

 

 

 

IDhar UDHAR

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