2014-10-20 01:31:01 UTC
Such has been its desire to promote Goa as a beach destination, that
the State government is now being accused of forgetting its own
commitment to promote hinterland tourism.
Unhappy that historic sites are being ignored, locals from Bicholim
and historians have blamed all elected representatives, the
archaeology department and the government for having neglected these
sites in the interior areas of the State.
In fact, North Goa and Union Tourism Minister Shripad Naik had
frequently expressed the need and desire to develop hinterland
tourism, but he is yet to come up with any concrete plan.
?Goa is not just about beaches, but there are several undiscovered
places which could be explored. We would stress on hinterland tourism
which has the potential to develop in Goa,? Naik had earlier told
?Tourists should be taken to the villages and we will chalk out a plan
in this regard,? he had said.
Locals from Bicholim taluka have begun questioning the assurances of
Naik and demand to know why historic sites in the taluka have been
?If the MP claims that he would develop hinterland tourism, then
places of historical importance should have been highlighted on Goa?s
tourism map,? claimed Deelip Dhargalkar from Lamgao.
?The Tourism Department?s brochure only mentions about Mayem Lake and
the Saptakoteshwar Temple and tourists are only taken to these two
places. There are several other historically important places in the
area and they are hidden from the tourists.?
?We have the famous Lama Caves at Lamgao and the Nimujga which are
equally historic, but no one is bothered about maintaining or
highlighting these sites. If these sites are maintained and promoted,
tourists could be brought to these places and it could generate
employment to the locals.?
?The department is not bothered about the Lama caves, from where the
Lamgao village probably got its name. Mining sludge has entered the
caves and their tunnels are totally blocked. The government has
installed a signboard that they are protected sites, but they have
never really been protected,? Dhargalkar added.
When contacted, historian Prajal Sakhardande came down heavily on the
State?s Archaeology Department and said the department has been of
little value to the State.
?There are several places of historical importance, but only 50 of
them have been notified and the department is not even trying to
maintain them. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the minister
concerned should look into this and the old monuments should be
protected and preserved,? Sakhardande said.
?There are several places in Bicholim itself and they are craving for
attention. There are caves from Lamgao and Narve, while the Namajga
offers a panoramic view of the entire Bicholim. Besides, there is a
fort at Sanquelim and Khorjuem, while a huge Shiv Linga is at
Latambarcem. Several such places could well have been highlighted on
the tourism map,? added Sakhardande.
?If these places are developed, they will not only by protected, but
they could also provide job opportunities to the villagers,? he said.
Meanwhile, attempts to contact the Director of Archaeology proved
futile as he was not in the office.