PANAJI: State Minister for Archaeology, Subhash Phal Dessai, said on Tuesday that his department is vetting the claims of temples destroyed by the Portuguese in Goa, and once confirmed, they will be taken up for restoration or reconstruction.
Addressing a press conference here, Dessai said that one such temple of Saptakoteshwar at Narve-Bicholim in North Goa will be reopened on February 11.
“This has historical importance. The temple has Kavi arts, which we have preserved while restoring it,” he said.
The Saptakoteshwar temple has a history of 350 years. Its restoration work started in 2019.
Speaking about the scheme, wherein the Goa government had made a budgetary provision of Rs 20 crore in 2022 to restore the temples demolished by the Portuguese, Dessai said that this scheme had mentioned temples; however, if claims other than that come, the government will decide on them.
“The scheme is only for temples, but if any other claims come, we will discuss them. We have received one claim of a mosque, which we will decide upon,” he said.
The minister said that on January 23, a committee appointed to study the claims had started to work on them.
“They (committee members) are vetting the details by visiting the sites and speaking to the villagers. Once it is confirmed that a temple was destroyed by the Portuguese, the restoration work will begin. We want to do it in a fair way,” he said.
Dessai said that the committee has been given a month’s time, but for fair vetting, the government may extend the deadline.
“The Portuguese used to send orders in writing (about destroying structures). Their documentation used to be perfect, which is there (with us). Archival sources will be converted into claims, and archaeological remains will be studied to confirm them,” he said.
According to sources, a survey of all the archaeological remains in Goa is presently underway.