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Goa’s jail by the sea to turn museum

Goa’s jail by the sea to turn museum

It will tell the story of those who fought for freedom from the Portuguese

The Aguada Central Jail, Goa’s erstwhile prison that stands in a scenic spot overlooking the Arabian sea, is to be transformed into a museum.

The Goa Tourism Development Corporation’s (GTDC) will convert the jail into a historical and heritage centre in a Rs. 25.8 crore project. Since May 30, 2015, the prison no longer houses inmates, who were shifted to the new jail at Colvale.

GTDC chairman Nilesh Cabral said the Aguada Jail Museum will join the ranks of Dhagshai Jail Museum in Himachal Pradesh and the Cellular Jail Museum in the Andamans. “This jail is very well known not only as a prison but for its history and heritage. We will preserve the heritage structure and showcase Goa’s freedom struggle,” says Mr. Cabral.

The GTDC will join hands with Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG), a group of heritage enthusiasts and freedom fighters — some of who have memories of their days inside this jail — to execute the project. A preliminary meeting and site inspection has been conducted.

Light and sound shows
Plans for the museum include light and sound shows depicting Goa’s freedom struggle. Historical landmarks will be marked out for tourists to observe.

Cells of the Aguada Central Jail stand on the site that once formed the citadel of the hilltop Fort Aguada. The four-hundred-year-old fort dates back to the Portuguese rule in parts of India.

GHAG’s Prajal Sakhardande and Jack Sukhija and freedom fighters Nagesh Karmali and Libia Lobo Sardesai have made several suggestions to contribute to the development of the museum.

Darashaw & Co. Pvt. Ltd., the project development consultants, have surveyed the fort to study the historical landmarks within, a tourism department official said.

The master plan to make the jail a tourist attraction includes the creation of activity zones, viewing galleries, amenity zones, information centres, improvement of temple and chapel areas, improving the prison cells, prison corridors, setting up water fountains, illumination of the jail campus, improvement of the aquifer duct and provision of a café.

The light and sound shows will pay tribute to the heroism of the men and women who fought for Goa’s liberation. “We have requested that landmarks within the jail be projected prominently,” Mr. Sakhardande of GHAG told The Hindu, adding that the museum should be a vibrant public space.

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