(Clockwise from above left) Plan layout of the new Raj Bhavan; 3D structure of the official building; President Ram Nath Kovind laid the foundation stone in the presence of Governor Sreedharan Pillai, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, PWD Minister Nilesh Cabral, Union Minister for Tourism Shripad Naik and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Ramesh Tawadkar\

By Special Correspondent

The foundation stone for the new Raj Bhavan building was laid by President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday 15th June. The cost of the structure is estimated to be over 32 crores. Governor Sreedharan Pillai said the old monument will be declared a national monument and once the new structure is complete, the old structure will be open for visitors to view.
The Raj Bhavan is a historical monument which was built in 1540. The structure was strategically designed as a fort, not just holding panoramic views of the three water bodies, the Mandovi and Zuari rivers with the Arabian sea, but also of the river bay, Fort Aguada and the busy port of Mormugao. The scenic beauty and solitude combined with its uniqueness and planning are some of the attractions that remain at the Palacio do Cabo as it was formerly called.
The close to 500-year old Catholic church also known as Nossa Senhora do Cabo (Our Lady of Cape Church occupies a corner on the site with views of the bay and sea. It is open for morning masses on all Sundays as well as on special occasions like Christmas, Easter and the annual church feast.
“The new Raj Bhavan will not disturb the present set up because it is a national monument, and nobody has the authority to change any part of it. So, this is a prestigious thing for Goa and Goans” Governor Pillai said.
The state government wants to implement 100% central schemes and centre sponsored scheme. The Goa Government has prepared a 10 pont programme for the development of Goa, chief minister Pramod Sawant said at the function. PWD minister Nilesh Cabral said the new Raj Bhavan will have water harvesting and use solar power as part of the clean energy project the state plans to implement.
Amenities in the new Raj Bhavan include Presidents quarters with a master bedroom, a large sea facing deck, living room, dining room, kitchen, two guest bedrooms, governor’s office, space for the governor’s staff and President’s staff on duty. Besides that, the building will also hold the ADC’s office, video conference room, a separate entry for VIP’s and another entry for other offices.
More recently, the Raj Bhavan’s 1000 capacity new Durbar hall was inaugurated by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. The government spent Rs 7 cr on the new durbar hall which was the place where the function took place and also the premises which will host dignitaries during swearing-in ceremonies and state receptions.

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