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Church authorities at Old Goa asked to be vigilant



Panaji, India, 09 July 2013: Against the backdrop of the Bodh Gaya blasts in India, the Goa division of the archaeological survey of India (ASI) has alerted its staff and asked church authorities to closely monitor the movements of tourists in and around the various heritage monuments at Old Goa.

Old Goa, as an important spiritual pilgrimage centre for Catholics and other faiths, and as a well-frequented archaeological and historical site, draws thousands of visitors every day.

ASI oversees the conservation and maintenance of the monuments-comprising a few churches, convents and other archaeological remains-at the world heritage complex.

A few, especially the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral are living monuments, where religious services are held. The House of Professed, adjoining the Basilica, is used by the clergy as a residential quarter.

"The church authorities should monitor the movements of each and every visitor within the premises and its surroundings," said Ramesh S Mulimani, superintending archaeologist, ASI, Goa.

While ASI has written to the local church authorities, its officials also called on the police top brass at the Panaji headquarters and requested for increased patrolling at the world heritage complex.

The ASI staff and security personnel posted at every site have been requested to be extra vigilant, while the ASI has also appealed to authorities and citizens to extend their cooperation in protecting the heritage properties.

"It is every citizen's prime duty to safeguard the cultural assets and to ensure upkeep of the monuments for future generations," said Mulimani.

The church authorities at the Basilica have also made a case for strengthening of the security systems at the church complex.

"A few policemen are sent after some incident, but everything goes back to normal after a few days," recalled Fr Savio Baretto, rector, Basilica of Bom Jesus. He added that the necessity of electronic surveillance systems cannot be overstressed. "There should be CCTVs, but more guards should also be posted," said the priest.

A proposal for electronic surveillance was talked about some time back, but there was no follow up.
"We are working on a proposal for installing electronic surveillance," the ASI chief said.Source: UCAN




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