Heritage conservationist to protest against Baghdurbar demolition plan

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jul 19, 2018-Heritage conservationists, cultural experts and the locals of Kathmandu have announced a protest against the approval issued by the Department of Archaeology (DoA) to demolish Baghdurbar.  

Following the department’s approval, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City is preparing to invite a tender to demolish the historic building. But the heritage lovers are after stopping the metropolis from doing so. They have called for a protest assembly outside Baghdurbar on Friday.

“We want to prevent this wrongful act. Baghdurbar is part of our heritage. A study has already concluded that the building could be retrofitted, but the metropolis and the archaeology department are after demolishing it,” said Chanda Rana, the coordinator of Save Heritage Campaign.

The earthquake of 2015 had damaged Baghdurbar. In its technical assessment carried out two years ago, the DoA had said that the building could be retrofitted and restored.

DoA Director General Bhesh Narayan Dahal had vowed not to let the KMC demolish Baghdurbar in the past. But now he is saying that the department has approved the KMC’s proposal of demolishing Baghdurbar and building it in its original form, much to the anger of heritage conservationists.

The KMC has been arguing that the cost of retrofitting will be much higher than the cost of demolishing and rebuilding the building from scratch.

The National Society for Technology, which works on reducing the risk of earthquake, does not buy this argument.

Surya Bhakta Sangachha,  the society’s senior technical adviser, said only 35 percent of the amount required to construct the new building could retrofit the building.

Baghdurbar, which is built on 121 ropanis of land, was handed over to the government in 1839 after the death of Bhimsen Thapa. Heritage conservationists believe that the building could be conserved just by employing retrofitting technology.

“We won’t let the metropolis to demolish the building. We have already saved around three dozen quake-damaged palaces from getting demolished, and we will be successful in saving Baghdurbar as well,” Rana said..

Sudarshan Raj Tiwari, architect and former dean of the Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk, also believes that Baghdurbar can be restored through retrofitting.

“If Gaddi Baithak of Basantapur can be restored through retrofitting, Baghdurbar can also be restored in a similar manner. After all, Baghdurbar had suffered less damage than Gaddi Baithak,” he said.

Published: 19-07-2018 07:33

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