Unesco committee gives Nepal a year to restore Valley’s world heritage sites ANUP OJHA

- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

Jul 29, 2016-

The earthquake-damaged world heritage sites in Kathmandu Valley are at risk of being put on the Unesco List of  World Heritage in Danger if they are not renovated within a year.

 The 40th session of the Unesco World Heritage Committee that concluded in Istanbul on July 20 gave Nepal government one more year to restore the damaged heritage sites at the request of Nepali delegation, led by Prem Kumar Rai, secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

Bhesh Narayan Dahal, the director general of Department of Archaeology (DoA), who was part of the delegation, said the committee had proposed putting 

our heritage sites on the danger list, citing delay in renovation. 

“We were able to secure a year extension for which the support of 18 representative countries was instrumental,” Dahal said.

Lebanon, Poland and Portugal were the countries to oppose the extension

With only a year in hand, the DoA has decided to expedite the restoration works of the world heritage sites that were heavily damaged by the Gorkha Earthquake of April 2015 and its strong aftershocks.

Dahal said the DoA has already mobilised 106 technicians for restoration works.

A total of 753 temples and monuments inside the heritage sites were damaged by the quake. Out of the seven Unesco World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu Valley, Swayambhunath Stupa, Changu Narayan Temple, Basantapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square have suffered considerable damage with many structures reduced to rubble. In comparison, two other heritage sites - Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple - are largely intact.

“We have already initiated the process to restore 48 of the damaged structures,” Dahal said.

A Unesco team is expected to visit Nepal at the end of this year to monitor and observe the restoration works of the world heritage sites.  

 “We have a lot to achieve by then,” said Dahal. 

He added that the entire project could take up to three years. 

The DoA has requested the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) Rs 2 billion for the restoration and renovation of the Unesco World Heritage Sites. 

Restoration of the quake-hit world heritage sites could not take place in time due to the delay in the formation of the NRA. 

 

Published: 29-07-2016 12:54

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