Kathmandu, August 20
The government has enacted the ‘Basic Guidelines on Conservation and Reconstruction of Heritages Damaged by Earthquake, 2016’ on the recommendation of experts to address the issues raised after the earthquake of April 25, 2015.
The earthquake and subsequent aftershocks had killed nearly 8,900 people and injured 22,000 others besides destroying or damaging tens of thousands of public and private structures. The devastating earthquake also caused a heavy loss to scores of historical and cultural heritages. According to the Department of Archaeology, more than 1,000 heritages of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Nuwakot and Gorkha, among other districts, suffered severe damage.
World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley were hit the worst with 90 per cent of structures destroyed in Hanumandhoka Durbar Square alone. More than 140 monuments, including Dharahara and Chagunarayan, of historical and cultural significance were reduced to rubble.
For the reconstruction and conservation of the structures, the guidelines have classified the physical cultural heritages into three types — heritage site, monument and object.
The classified heritages fall under the direct jurisdiction of the DoE as per the Ancient Monument Preservation Act, 1963. The DoA may collaborate with other national and international agencies or personalities or grant them approval for renovation and reconstruction of the structures.
As per the guidelines, the DoA shall receive financial and technical resources, and mobilise them for the purpose of renovation, conservation and reconstruction of heritages. It has put the renovation of heritages and monuments damaged or destroyed by the earthquake on top priority.
“The government or responsible agencies shall carry out renovation and reconstruction works of the damaged or destroyed historical and cultural heritages on the basis of available evidences, not on hypothetical speculation,” read the guidelines. It also requires the authorities to adopt traditional construction materials, technologies and techniques as far as possible and ensure participation of the locals while dealing with heritages of all types.
The standard and procedure for the renovation and reconstruction of the heritage sites, monuments and objects shall be as determined by the Guidelines, it says.
A version of this article appears in print on August 21, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.