Cautious nod for heritage plan

With private players preparing to take over a few of Goa’s nationally important monuments for provision and maintenance of basic amenities under the Union ministry of tourism’s project “Adopt a Heritage”, conservationists and heritage lovers in the state said the proposal looks good on paper and will boost creation of amenities for tourists and visitors with assured flow of funds.
“If the proposal is properly scrutinised, then it would be a boost for conservation,” architect, Ketak Nachinolkar said.
Private parties, styled as ‘Monument Mitras’, are expected to adopt listed heritage monuments to upgrade basic amenities to international standards at the site. “This will make it a good experience for them (tourists),” archaeologist and former regional director (north) ASI, K.K. Muhammed said.
Goa has models of private players contributing to conservation. The Reis Magos fort was restored through Lady Helen Hamlyn Trust and is now being run by a committee of civil society members. “It is high time heritage becomes everybody’s responsibility. In Rajasthan, there are many examples of private sponsors,” Nachinolkar said.
But some are worried over the perils of commercialisation and corporates using monuments as their personal properties. “Certain parts of the world allow these models, but there are strict controls,” architect Dean D’Cruz said.
The private parties are not expected to generate any revenue through collection of fees. “But the very next clause states that if fees are planned to be charged it will have to be approved by the ministry,” D’Cruz said. Muhammed said that collecting revenue for profits would be wrong. “That will be the worse thing that will the happen to the monuments,” he said.
In Goa, there are a few models that have turned bad — the Tiracol fort and a riverfront property in Panaji granted on a long-term private lease. “Visitors are shooed away at both places. It is like the camel’s nose in the tent story. The camel may occupy the whole ten, which is why strict controls are needed,” a heritage lover said.

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