Renowned fashion designer and Padmashri winner Wendell Rodricks has written to President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging their intervention to save from demolition a 100-year-old chapel in his native village Colvale.
St. Anthony's Chapel is being demolished to widen national highway 17 (NH-17), which cuts through Colvale village, known for its picturesque natural beauty and grand colonial era houses.
Mr Rodricks and the villagers of Colvale, located 20 km from Panaji, have been protesting against the cutting down of trees in and around the village for the four-laning of NH-17, a Central Public Works Department (CPWD) project.
In his letter to the President and the Prime Minister, Mr Rodricks said, "We have learnt about the expansion of the highway, which will destroy our St. Anthony's Chapel. This is totally illegal and in violation of the Supreme Court order that a religious structure over 100 years old cannot be demolished. This ruling was enforced after the Babri Masjid demolition."
The letter requests the authorities "to realign the highway expansion to create a flyover on Y-shaped columns and an underpass on the St. Anthony's Chapel junction" to save the chapel.
Mr Rodricks also urged that a sound-free corridor be developed along the highway. "Can you please ensure a noise free corridor with screens so that the villagers can live and sleep in peace," he wrote.