Goa leader calls international cultural community for help to save UNESCO Heritage Site
Goa Forward Party (GFP) chief Vijai Sardesai on Sunday called for help from the international cultural community like United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) to save the “future of Old Goa from the destructive policies of present the state government led by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant”.
He asked CM Sawant and Town and Country Planning Minister Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavlekar to immediately and effectively withdraw their decision to place Ella village of Old Goa, a UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage Site, under the Greater Panaji Planning and Development Authority (GPPDA) before December 3, the feast day of St Francis.
In an open letter addressed to the Director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Mechtild Rossler, and Vice-President of ICOMOS, Rohit Jigyasu, Sardesai stated,” On November 20, 2020, I was alerted and alarmed to learn that the government of Goa decided to place the Ella village of Old Goa, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, under the Greater Panaji Planning and Development Authority. This is a brazen act of poaching and encroachment of boundaries determined by the UNESCO. Under these provisions, the government of Goa could allow building heights to reach 30 m in various commercial zones as against the 9-m height restrictions, which are currently allowed.”
“My concerns remain that the government of Goa may choose to move ahead with the development of highrises as close as 100 m to the UNESCO site,” Sardesai mentioned in the letter.
He added the government of Goa continues to ignore their demand not to add more areas under the GPPDA, especially threatening the character of Old Goa, which the UNESCO declared as World Heritage Site in 1986. “I urge the people of Goa and the international cultural community to help us save Old Goa,” read one of the tweets of the Goa Forward Party leader.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)