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Goa's heritage church site to lose UNESCO tag if govt. allows rampant construction: Congress

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Panaji, June 9 (Ajit Weekly News) Goa’s renowned 17th century church complex located in Old Goa, a short distance from Panaji, will lose its UNESCO world heritage tag, if the floor area ratio (FAR) near the site is increased to 400, as proposed by the state government, Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo said on Thursday.

“They want to create a satellite township next to a UNESCO world heritage site. The site will lose its UNESCO tag if they declare that as 400 FAR,” Lobo said.

The Leader of Opposition said that the increased FAR would allow concretisation of the area around the church complex, which receives hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Town and Country Planning Minister Vishwajit Rane has proposed raising the FAR of the Kadamba plateau which overlooks the Old Goa church complex, claiming that the government was proposing a satellite township in the area.

Lobo, however, said that a heritage site certified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) cannot have a township around it.

“It cannot be allowed to happen,” the Congress leader also said.

Construction of the Church complex, of which the Basilica is a part, by the Portuguese colonists was completed in the 17th century and is now a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization-endorsed world heritage site. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the Church complex, which is located around 10 km from Panaji.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus, which is the key heritage building in the complex, also holds the relics of Fr. Francis Xavier, a Spanish Saint, who died in the mid 1500s.

–Ajit Weekly News

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