For close to a decade there have been assurances galore on setting up of a state-of-the-art Ravindra Bhavan in Mapusa but apart from lofty promises and debates in the Goa Legislative Assembly, not a stone has moved on the ground.
With seven constituencies which cater to a large local population, Bardez taluka should have got a Ravindra Bhavan way back and on priority.
But it wasn’t to be.
A relatively smaller taluka of Mormugao has managed to get two Ravindra Bhavans – Baina and Sancoale – that too within a span of little over a decade even as Bardez continues to be ignored.
The taluka of Bardez is known to be a cultural hub where Nataks, Tiatrs and several other artistic activities have flourished for ages but when it comes to build a cultural edifice, the taluka has got a step-motherly treatment from the BJP-led government which has been in power in the State for more than 10 years now.
While the project could have been set up in any of the seven constituencies in the taluka, there is a general unanimity among the artistes and even the politicians that a big project like Ravindra Bhavan has to come up in Mapusa because it is considered to be the capital of Bardez.
ANSABHAT, BODGESHWAR SITES GET THE BOOT
As early as in 2011, the State government under the then Chief Minister Digambar Kamat had proposed to construct the Ravindra Bhavan at Ansabhat, Mapusa.
The Department of Art and Culture had also initiated the process of acquiring 20,000 sq mt of land adjacent to the St Joseph’s chapel at Ansabhat.
But then Mapusa MLA late Francisco (Babush) D’Souza opposed the setting up of the project at the site and the plan fizzled out.
Later in 2019, the government came up with a new plan to construct the Ravindra Bhavan on a sprawling site opposite to the Bodgeshwar Temple, Mapusa on an area of around 40,000 sq mts.
The Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) was tasked with the job of preparing a detailed project report for the project.
Govind Gaude, who was also the then Art and Culture Minister, had formed a seven-member committee to expedite the land acquisition process and other related issues to get the project going.
But the plan had to be shelved after some farmers refused to part away with their tenanted land and approached the courts.
FOCUS SHIFTS TO CUNCHELIM BUT NO ACTIVITY SO FAR
The focus then shifted to a new site with a proposal to construct the Ravindra Bhavan on comunidade land in Cunchelim.
The new site was identified near the Sai Baba Temple in Cunchelim.
The Cunchelim comundidade has also in principle agreed to part away with the land for the construction of the project.
Govind Gaude who is the Art and Culture Minister for second term has also inspected the site in March this year and considered the spot as an ideal place to set up the project as it was on the outskirts of the town and has easy access to the NH66.
The comunidade was asked to take a resolution in favour of the project and submit the plans and other relevant details to the art and culture department so that work on the project could be taken up in quick time.
But the last we heard about the project was that the Cunchelim comunidade was waiting for a “request letter” from the art and culture department, while the department claimed they were waiting for the comunidade to send its proposal to them.
While the bureaucratic wrangle holds up the initiation of the project further delaying the process, it’s the artistes and the people of Bardez who are the real sufferers.