Detailed plan needed to protect monuments

Panaji: The infrastructure of Goa’s heritage monuments and sites is a big problem which needs to be strengthened by its government. Special consideration should be given in this regard to the department of art and culture instead of only laying focus on the department of tourism, said renowned archaeologist and former regional director (North) of the Archaeological Survey of India ( ASI), K K Muhammad. He was speaking at the Institute Menezes Braganza (IMB), Panaji on Monday.

“When any ruling government, irrespective of BJP or Congress, is approached for funding for the preservation of monuments and heritage sites, financial-aid is declined. Film festivals and cultural programmes are always provided funding,” he said.

With so many archeological sites in need of attention, a comprehensive plan is the need of the hour. “There should be adaptive purposes by which some monuments can be utilized as museums, or forts converted into palaces. This way monuments can generate their own income instead of being a burden to the government.”

With the real estate lobby aggressively building projects, some heritage sites are at risk in Goa. Sharing his thoughts on new buildings being erected within heritage zones, he said, “If there is no political will to adhere to the rules of the heritage zone then they won’t be implemented. Politicians need to understand that new buildings may serve hundreds of crores for the time-being but in return they are not contributing to the state’s heritage.”

He further suggested that the core area (monument) must be identified by a team of experts and the adjacent areas (peripheral 100m) must be declared as no development zones in order to discourage land sharks from taking over areas with building projects.