Matters India |Saturday, March 17, 2018
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Urban art panel to preserve private heritage buildings 

Porvorim: In a move to preserve and develop the aesthetic quality and environmental design of Goa’s heritage structures, the 13-member conservation committee headed by town and country planning minister Vijai Sardesai met on Monday and decided to form an urban art commission for the state.

The department will formulate a scheme, which will be implemented through the urban arts commission, to restore private heritage structures through government funds.

“We want to create streetscapes,” Sardesai said after the meeting. “We will do it on a pilot basis where structures which are privately owned will be restored at government cost. We will try to create a scheme and we will name the scheme appropriately.

The scheme will be tested out in Margao on a single heritage structure to check its viability, Sardesai said. “Other areas have been given to the Charles Correa foundation, which will be looking at Assagao. In Panaji, it is under the Smart City Mission and they have their own funds,” he said.

He explained that at the moment, the state government isn’t permitted to spend public money to restore private heritage homes or structures. Owners of heritage structures often find it difficult and expensive to maintain such structures, which then slip into disrepair or are sold off for redevelopment,The Times of India reported.

“The private party had to cede rights and give it to the government if they wanted their structure to be preserved,” Sardesai said. “But nobody is going to cede rights and give their house to the government. The church is not going to give ownership of its structures to the state government.”
He said that heritage walks are gaining popularity and it is vital to preserve structures steeped in history. “Now, if there is nothing to see, what kind of heritage walks will we have?” Sardesai said. “Why should tourists come? Heritage is meant to be shown to people and tourists.”

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