Stating that he will soon propose construction of a new state-of-the-art House of Archives to the government, the Minister for Archives and Archaeology, Vijai Sardesai on Monday said that the agenda of his Goa Forward Party is to protect Goemkarponn or Goan identity, and as such his party would ensure that the government would make enough provision of funds for the department of archives and archaeology in its budget, so as to protect the state archival wealth.
Sardesai, who was on his maiden visit to the city-based repository of archival material dating back to the 16th century, after taking over the archives and archaeology portfolio, and accompanied by the director of fire services, Ashok Menon said that he has also directed that a fire safety audit should be conducted for the repository.
Interacting with the media, the Minister for Archives and Archaeology said that he has already discussed the matter pertaining to the construction of the House of Archives with the Chief Secretary and has reached the conclusion that once the House of Archives is ready, all the archival material in the present repository should be shifted to it, with no stop-gap arrangement desired.
“The House of Archives will be a modern, interactive building that will generate interest among children as well as people in general,” he noted.
“Presently, the department of archives and archaeology has been located at three places namely Altinho, St Inez and Mala, and all these offices would be brought under the House of Archives,” the Minister for Archives and Archaeology said, observing that built-up area of 6,000 square metres is required for the House of Archives, whose construction should get over in two years’ time.
He also said that such an area could be made available in his Fatorda constituency however, if shifting the state archives to South Goa is viewed as a drastic decision, then the House of Archives could come up at a place like say, Dona Paula.
Speaking further, Sardesai said that he is handling the archives and archeology portfolio with all seriousness and would consult related stakeholders before shifting the present repository of the state archival material. “I will also be visiting the archive and archeology headquarters once a fortnight, and observe if its staff provides adequate service to the public or not,” he mentioned.
Sardesai said that he would soon be meeting the Archbishop of Goa to discuss the preservation of certain Catholic archeological sites around the state, especially, the Old Goa area.
“Furthermore, the government will not allow constructions, which would deplete the value of Old Goa,” he assured, maintaining that all illegal structures in the Old Goa area would be demolished.
Replying to a question, the Minister for Archives and Archaeology said that digitisation of archival material is also an area of priority for him.
He further lamented that although there are 51 notified archaeological sites around Goa, no guards have been placed at these sites by the government.
Meanwhile, the director of fire services, Ashok Menon informed that a modular fire suppression system to be fitted in the ceiling, has been recommended for protecting the precious documents in the department of archives and archeology, as water is not the proper medium to fight the fire in the department.
“Presently, the risk is not much for the record room of the department,” he observed, pointing out that instead of electrical fans, air-conditioners are recommended for the record room as they would also control the humidity and dampness in the air.