Recent Goa state government’s move to incorporate Ela village under Greater Panaji Planning and Development Authority of Goa has created controversy as the opposition parties fear the move will harm the heritage sites in the locality. Ela village currently under the jurisdiction of a local village panchayat.
According to the people who oppose the move which includes former deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai, the 17th century Old Goa Church complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, faces threat of encroachment of its boundaries by real estate developers in the wake of a recent move. Also, the Church Complex could face the prospects of high-rise buildings in its close proximity if the state government goes ahead with its proposal.
If the proposal is implemented the government of Goa could allow building height in surrounding areas to reach 30-m in various commercial zones as against the nine-meter height restriction which are currently allowed. Further, increased real estate development around the heritage site, a government project to treat garbage, had been a subject of controversy over the last few years.
Vijai Sardesai has already written a letter to UNESCO Director Mechtild Rossier saying that the church located in Ela village near the capital city of Panaji could face prospects of high-rise buildings in its close proximity, if the Goa Government approved incorporation of the village in Grater Panaji Planning and Development Authority.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a Roman Catholic basilica located in Goa, India, and is part of the Churches and convents of Goa UNESCO World Heritage Site. The basilica is located in Old Goa, former capital of Portuguese India, and holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier.
This is one of the oldest churches in Goa and in India. The floor is of marble inlaid with precious stones. Apart from the elaborate gilded altars, the interior of the church is simple. The main altar holds a large statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and one of Francis Xavier’s companions whose words drew him to a reformed life.