Traditional Goan homes constructed in the time of the Portuguese used Indo-Portuguese architectural style, including an open seating porch, tall pillared halls, ornate window sills etc. Some of them are centuries old, having preserved unique architectural designs no longer found anywhere.

But these houses are from a feudal time, when the owners and a large family and many people to maintain the house in pristine condition. Today living in such a house poses numerous problems. A deflated family of just 2-4 members, scarcity of domestic help, unreachable manpower for repairs, lack of an understanding of the architectural designs resulting in blanket plastering of the whole ornate structure, and aging walls – these are just some of the problems faced by the owners.

But these structures are reminiscent of the Goa from history, treasure troves of art and memory, and have become a cultural identity of the state. Preserving and restoring them would add to the tourist attraction as well as local satisfaction.

In this perspective the recent announcement by a state minister this Saturday has brightened many faces. Public Works Department Minister Sudin Dhavalikar said at a function, “We were discussing about houses in Goa, which are in dilapidated condition because some people who are staying in Portugal cannot come here to even maintain the houses”. And hence his Ministry is planning to use Portuguese expertise to repair and commercially tap dilapidated grand villas, which are synonymous with the state’s countryside. The Public Works Department has already taken a step forward by joining hands with the Portuguese Environment Ministry for sharing of expertise in the area of water and sewage management. The function held on Saturday in Panjim was to facilitate the signing of a memorandum of understanding between his Ministry and that of the Portuguese for the same. Dhavalikar said, “It is our prime duty as government of Goa to take help of the Portuguese government to even implement some of the good things”.

At another function, Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma said during a recent visit to Portugal, a Goa government delegation had met representatives of a private concern, which specialised in putting traditional houses on the market.

Referring back to an article previously posted on our website regarding rampant apartment construction, it seems the right steps are being planned to be taken into preserving the heritage of the state while simultaneously benefitting builders and buyers. We hope the government takes more such steps that benefit the people without harming the existing heritage and biodiversity.

SOURCE : NDTV

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