Bhaktapur palace renovation delayed

Bhaktapur, May 8:

The time for renovation of the historic 55-window palace in Bhaktapur has been increased by nine more months after it was realised that it could not be finished within by June.

The steering committee of Monuments Conservation and Office of the Caretaker of Palace Area (MCOCPA), in a meeting held yesterday, decided to extend the renovation time.

The renovation work, estimated to cost Rs 16 million being provided by the Nepal Government and the Bhaktapur Municipality, began in 2004 with an objective of preserving the World Heritage site without changing its historic style and charm.

Aruna Nakarmi, project in-charge of the historic 55-windows palace at Bhaktapur, said, “The steering committee meeting yesterday decided to add nine months more for the completion of the project. We failed to meet the deadline because of some technical glitches.”

“We have already completed 62 per cent work,” she said, adding, “If the work continues at the same speed without any hurdles, we will complete the remaining work by the mid-2008.” Amrit Shakya, sub-engineer of MCOCPA, said technical problems had delayed the renovation work.

“The unavaibality of 18 ft and 21ft long wooden struts needed to construct roof of the palace delayed the work.”

Monuments Conservation and Office of the Caretaker of Palace Area announced tender for supply of the wooden struts but none of the parties could meet the requirement.

“A supplier qualified for the supply of wooden struts on the eighth call for tender. Now we have started the work,” Shakya said, adding, “It is not possible to complete the remaining work by June because the artistic walls inside the palace need to be tackled finely by art experts.” The UNESCO had declared Bhaktapur a World Heritage in 1979.