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GFP demands Old Goa to be declared as Heritage Zone, to form a cell of experts

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Panaji: Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Thursday demanded that Old Goa, a village that has monuments which are notified by UNESCO, should be declared as a ‘Heritage Zone.’

GFP President Vijai Sardesai, in a statement released here, ha said the party has decided to take the initiative and “will not rest till Old Goa is declared as a Heritage Zone.”

The party earlier had objected to inclusion of Old Goa into Greater Panaji Planning and Development Authority (GPPDA) claiming that such a move would result into the village being converted into modern town.

The village houses few of the world renowned churches including Basilica of Bom Jesus, which are notified as Heritage Monuments by the UNESCO. Old Goa is located nine kilometers away from capital city of Panaji.

Sardesai said that the party has decided to invite experts including archaeologists, architects, engineers, conservationists, urban planners to join a cell that will formulate a plan for the preservation and protection of Old Goa.

He said that the cell will also act as a pressure group to convince the government of the day to declare the site as a Heritage Zone.

Meanwhile, GFP has termed the decision to scrap the proposal of inclusion of Old Goa in GPPDA as victory of Goans.

“Goa Forward Party is proud of all Goemkars (Goans) who have saved Old Goa today. The government’s decision to scrap the proposal to include Old Goa in Greater Panaji PDA is a victory for Goem and Goemkarponn (Goa and Goans),” Sardesai said.

“But we cannot relax. We have to remain vigilant because this Govt cannot be trusted. Our party will see to it that all those viewing this heritage site as prime real estate will not be allowed to find and exploit any loopholes that could be deliberately left by this Govt and its agents.”

“I have already written to UNESCO and ICOMOS to take all steps to preserve the future of Old Goa. I have also written to the Hon’ble Union Minister for Culture that Old Goa should be declared a Heritage Zone so that it can be protected for all posterity,” he said.

“This is not my view but the opinion of many archaeological, engineering and conservation experts who have voiced their concerns about losing this heritage site forever and who have also offered viable solutions and strategies to protect and preserve it,” Sardesai said.

The Goa Forward Party has decided to take the initiative in this matter and to not rest till Old Goa is declared a Heritage Zone. We have decided to invite experts including archaeologists, architects, engineers, conservationists, urban planners to join a cell that will formulate a plan for the preservation and protection of Old Goa.

It will also act as a pressure group to convince the government of the day to declare this site as a Heritage Zone. Dr Renuka da Silva, Vice-President of the Goa Forward Party, will be the Convenor of the group. I request all Goemkars, especially those who have the subject expertise, to help Dr Renuka to form this group and achieve the objective.

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