Silent protest to save Bagdurbar

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jul 22, 2018-

Heritage conservationists and activists on Saturday peacefully protested at the gate of Bagdurbar in Sundhara seeking reversal of Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s (KMC) plan to demolish the historic building.

At the protest organised by Save Bagdurbar Group, participants silently displayed placards that boldly proclaimed ‘Bagdurbar Our Heritage,’ ‘Stop Demolition,’ ‘Neo-classic Durbar our Heritage’ at the gates of Bagdurbar.

Conservationists and culture experts raised the pitch to preserve Bagdurbar long back after the Department Of Archaeology approved KMC’s plan to demolish the building.

The earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015 had damaged Bagdurbar and many other buildings.

In its technical assessment done two years ago, the DoA said, retrofitting could restore the building.

DoA Director General Bhesh Narayan Dahal had vowed to not to allow KMC demolish the Bagdurbar. However, the DoA recently gave permission to demolish the historic building.

The activists are determined to preserve the heritage even as the KMC prepares to put out tender bids to demolish the historic building.

A lawyer and activist, Sanjay Adhikari slammed the authorities accusing them of corrupt intentions.

“They cannot get commission in soil and traditional materials if they work on retrofitting the Bagdurbar, but there is good commission in cement and other modern materials. That is why the KMC is planning to destroy this historic building,” said Adhikari.

All activists will file petition with the Supreme Court, if the concerned authority does not heed to the call for saving the heritage building.

Save Heritage Campaign Coordinator Chanda Rana said, they silently protested at the entrance of the gate of KMC to remind officials the importance of the heritage issue. “We have already sent letter to KMC, DoA and National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) not to demolish the building. Demolishing the building would destroy all paintings and artefacts inside Bagdarbar. They cannot be restored. It is a historic building associated with Bhimsen Thapa, we shall not let KMC to make single change in it,” said Rana.

The cost of retrofitting will be much higher than the cost of demolishing the rebuilding the building it from scratch, KMC official reason.

However, the National Society of Technology that works on reducing the risk of the earthquake does not agree to this view.

Society’s senior technical advisor Surya Bhakta Sangachha said, only 35 to 40 percent of the amount required to construct the new building could retrofit the building.

Baghdurbar, built on 121 ropanis, was handed over to the government in 1839 after the death of Bhimsen Thapa. Heritage conservationists believe retrofitting technology could conserve the building.

Conservationists have appealed DoA, KMC and NRA to carry out the assessment of the building in the presence of cultural experts and architects.

Architect Sudarshan Raj Tiwari has urged stakeholders to retrofit the Bagdurbar to preserve its legacy. He cited the examples of Gaddi Baithak of Basantapur and Singha Durbar that retrofitted.

Published: 22-07-2018 07:31

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