A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa, Savio Rodrigues, on Tuesday urged Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai to seek the restoration of churches that he said were neglected during Portuguese rule of the coastal state.
Rodrigues, the BJP spokesperson in Goa, hailed the scheme introduced by the government to restore temples destroyed or damaged during Portuguese colonial rule. The state government has sanctioned Rs 20 crore for the purpose.
In keeping with the Goa government’s desire to preserve heritage, he said in a memorandum submitted to the Governor that the Centre and the state must set up a similar fund to restore heritage Catholic Churches in Goa.
Churches and tourism
Goa’s Catholic churches, he said, draw a large number of tourists from all religions who marvel at their history, spiritual essence and architectural prowess.
Some of them like The Velim Church, Church of Our Lady of Rosary, Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Three Kings Chapel and many more “are monumental wonders that must be preserved”, Rodrigues added.
Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule in 1961.
Rodrigues suggested that that the government could initiate a study before allotting funds to restore or renovate heritage Catholic churches in Goa.
He said churches and convents run by the Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans and Carmelites besides native Goan Churches were also left to ruin during Portuguese rule.
“I must commend the sincere efforts put in by the Centre and the state for the renovation and restoration of Bom Jesus Basilica (a UNESCO heritage site) at Old Goa,” he said.
“It is my humble suggestion that the government extend its efforts towards other Catholic churches that also have historical, cultural and religious significance for Goa and its people,” he said.
Describing the Christian community ais an important stakeholder in India’s democracy, he said that Goa’s Christian population has contributed immensely to the evolution of the state and India as a global brand.
(With Agency inputs)