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MLA expresses fear of Goa churches losing heritage status

Press Trust of India  |  Panaji 

Goa's Independent Vijay Sardesai today expressed fear that the renowned churches of Old would lose their world heritage monument status with the proposed four-lane highway passing next to these cluster of 16th century structures.

The state government has not taken approval of the National Monuments Authority for the proposed four-lane road, which runs nearly 100 metres away from the heritage monuments, Sardesai told the state Legislative Assembly.

"The four-lane road would affect the heritage status of the Old complex," he said, raising the question during ongoing Assembly session today.

Sardesai said the proposed highway is just 100 metres away while the rule makes it mandatory to have it 300 metres away from such monuments.

The legislator said that Archaeological Survey of (ASI) has been consistently writing to the state government expressing worries over the proposed road.

They had suggested that the clearance should be obtained from National Monuments Authority, he said.

Allaying Sardesai's apprehensions, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said the state government will follow all the laws while constructing the four-lane road, which is necessary to do away with the traffic which currently is using the highway running through two of Old Goa's monuments - Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral.

"If you listen to their (ASI's) observations, they will not even allow mass to happen in the churches (at Old Goa)," the Chief Minister said.

All the observations would be addressed taking into confidence the relevant authorities, he said.

Old Churches complex, situated 9 kms away from here, was declared as World Heritage Monument in 1980 and thereafter ASI has been maintaining them.

Basilica of Bom Jesus, one of the church in the complex, houses relics of St Francis Xavier, a Christian missionary.

First Published: Tue, April 09 2013. 15:15 IST