DoA, KMC locked in monumental row

  • Archaeology office directs metropolis to halt project to build fences
  • heritage conservation
- GAURAV THAPA, Kathmandu

Feb 5, 2016-The Department of Archaeology (DoA) and the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) are locked in a monumental disagreement over the latter’s project of building fences around historic monuments on the premises of Hanumandhoka Durbar Square. 

The DoA on Thursday halted KMC’s fencing project, saying the move violates archaeological norms.  

The KMC had hired a private contractor for installing metal poles around temples that were damaged by the April 25 earthquake to prevent further deterioration  of the heritage structures.  

In the last two weeks, the contractor had almost finished fencing six temples within the Unesco World Heritage Site. 

The DAO instruction to the KMC to halt the project follows concerns expressed by heritage conservationists who said concrete was being used to build those fences. 

“Using concrete in the Hanumandhoka area is against the Unesco guidelines,” said Suraj Shrestha, chief of World Heritage Section at the DoA. 

“Concrete was never used in the area in the past, and it cannot be used now. The KMC cannot unilaterally launch projects in the 

heritage site. We have asked the metropolis to halt the project.”

But Narendra Bilas Bajracharya, chief of KMC’s Hanumandhoka Area Conservation Programme (HDACP) said the fences were being built after locals expressed concern that the damaged temples, if left unprotected, could suffer further damage. 

According to Mayadevi Aryal, museum officer of Hanumandhoka Durbar Upkeep Office, the pillars [of the fences] have affected the plinths of temples. 

If the fence project becomes a threat to the monuments, it just defeats the purpose of saving them. 

Architect Alina Tamrakar suggested a way out. 

She said traditional materials should have been used for building the pillars instead of concrete. 

“The [current] project is against the by-laws of Unesco regarding World Heritage Sites, as underground structures in the area are also of equal archaeological importance, and they could be damaged while building fences,” she said.

Published: 05-02-2016 08:17

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