Xavier basilica a 'fire hazard'

World Heritage site at risk because of bad wiring and years of neglect, priest says

Xavier basilica a 'fire hazard'
Bom Jesus Basilica
Bosco de Sousa Eremita, Old Goa, India

May 11, 2011

Old Goa’s Bom Jesus Basilica, which houses the remains of Saint Francis Xavier, is at serious risk from fire because of years of neglect by authorities, a Church official has warned. The 17th century church is a potential “fire bomb” because of the “lackadaisical attitude” of those responsible for maintaining it, its rector Father Savio Barretto said today. The church is a UNESCO World Heritage site and India’s first minor basilica. It is considered the best example of baroque architecture in India. The Archeological Survey of India is supposed to look after the church’s maintenance. Father Barretto says electrical short circuits in the basilica have become a regular occurrence, but authorities have ignored repeated pleas to re-wire the building. “We have been reminding the authorities for the last five to six years to replace the wiring, but nothing has materialized so far,” he added. He also said some wires are exposed as their insulation has worn with age. “One cannot believe that a World Heritage site can be left in this state for years,” the priest said. A significant portion of the basilica is made of wood, he added. About 10,000 people visit the basilica daily. Related reports Goa Basilica Fire Spares Xavier Relics Guided Tours Banned From Xavier Basilica, Guides Upset ID14169