Dona Paula is a very popular tourist destination on the outskirts of Panaji. The historic monument there is associated with the tragic story of the daughter of a Portuguese Viceroy, during colonial rule. She fell in love with a local fisherman of Goa and wanted to marry him but her relationship was denied by her father resulting in her suicide off the cliff.

The Dona Paula Jetty has been under repairs and renovation for years. It is a pity that despite crores having been spent in sprucing up the place, the authorities failed to visualise that the historic monument is today unfortunately in a pathetic state needing much attention. The monument is in a precarious state and may for lack of care collapse this monsoon and a piece of history will just be washed away.

Investing in the preservation, maintenance and enhancement of our monuments and places of historical importance and scenic beauty is culturally and educationally important for present and future generations and because it captures the imagination and interest of many tourists. Such places give our State blessed with a rich and diverse history an important and unique dimension as a tourist destination. We cannot simply rely on being a gambling and narcotic distraction that benefits only a few unscrupulous addicts.   

The economy of our State is driven by several sectors with tourism as the largest segment in the services sector and a key provider of the much-needed foreign exchange. Preservation is simply having the good sense to hold onto things that are well designed, that link us with our past in a meaningful way. The preservation and beautification of our state and historical sites is an important feature of protecting our environment and restoring our State to its glory days and to being called once more the ‘Pearl of the Orient’.    

The late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis famously said ‘If we don’t care about our past, we cannot hope for the future. I care desperately about saving old buildings’.

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