Wednesday , 20 March 2019

After decades of neglect, Sankhali fort to get new lease of life

Vishant Vaze | NT



The dilapidated pre-Portuguese era fort at Sankhali is likely to be restored to its former glory. Speaker Dr Pramod Sawant along with the Director of Archives and Archaeology Blossom Madeira and consultant Milind Ramani visited the fort and decided to undertake the repair work on a war footing.

The Sankhali fort is one amongst 42 monuments that have been declared in 1983 as monuments of importance by the Government of Goa, Daman and Diu under the Act of 1978.

The fort which dates back to the pre-Portuguese era is in a dilapidated condition and is crumbling with each passing day.

Overlooking the left bank of the River Valvanti, the Sankhali fort was used as a strategic defense outpost and also served as a port for trade during the Portuguese era.

Earlier fortification was said to be of Mughals. In 1698 Khem Sawant Bhosle conquered the fort along with the fort of Bicholim. In 1746, the Marques de Alorna conquered the fort. However, later, the Portuguese lost control of the fort, but in 1782, Governor Frederico Guilherme de Souza re-conquered the fort.

Known as Forte de Sanquelim, in 1820 it was under a commandant who had his accommodation at the fort. Later on the custom house of Sattari was functioning from this fort. In 1930, the Portuguese government repaired its bulwark and in 1990 the state government undertook the repair works.

However, the lack of concern by the government had allowed the setting up of numerous shops around the fort. In March 2001, a committee appointed by the government on cultural heritage recommended taking steps for the fort’s conservation, but till date nothing concrete has been done.

For the last five years during the monsoon, the Directorate of Archives and Archaeology was covering the fort with tarpaulin and was making efforts to stop its ruin.

Blossom Madeira, while explaining the proposed work of repair of the fort, said, “We have a plan to undertake the repair of this historic fort with budgetary provision of Rs 2 crore as early as

Dr Sawant said, “The government has already decided to rehabilitate all 40 shops that are functioning around the fort along with the offices of Public Works Department and a co-operative society in the newly constructed complex of Sankhali municipality.”

Councillor Annad Kanekar said this is a positive move of the government to reconstruct the historic fort which will bring back the glory of Sankhali.

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