Hanumandhoka restoration project to start after Dashain

Kathmandu, September 4

Constituent Assembly member Nabindra Raj Joshi, who is spearheading initiatives to rebuild the Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, which was severely damaged in the April 25 earthquake, has stressed an immediate need to restore the World Cultural Heritage Site.

Joshi, who is also the coordinator of the coordination committee for repair and reconstruction of monuments in the Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, said, “It is highly critical that we rebuild the monuments in such a way that they would be able to withstand even greater earthquakes in future.”

He informed that the repair and reconstruction of damaged monuments would be completed within five years under the Post-Earthquake Recovery and Reconstruction Policy.

He also stressed unified development of destroyed or damaged monuments in the square in close coordination and consultation with the locals.

Bhesh Narayan Dahal, director general at the Department of Archaeology, said his office has already developed an inventory of damaged and destroyed monuments in the square other places across the country along with the details of their pre-earthquake state.

“The inventory will guide us to repair and reconstruct the monuments without losing their originality. The DoA will work out the design and estimate the cost of the project. Reconstruction work will begin after the Dashain festival at the latest,” he informed, adding that the locals will act as a watchdog for the project.

According to Dahal, as many as 820 monuments were damaged or destroyed in the April 25 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. Of them, 39 monuments are located in the square.

“Various countries, including India, China and Sri Lanka, and donor agencies have expressed their interest in rebuilding the monuments. Currently, training is being provided to local masons and artisans so as to engage them in the reconstruction of the monuments,” he shared.

Ram Thapaliya, disaster management adviser to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, said the latter has taken reconstruction of heritage monuments seriously as they are associated with national identity. “National Reconstruction Authority will coordinate with line ministries and locals for the reconstruction project,” he informed.

Sampat Ghimire, senior divisional engineer at the DoA, said the government has given top priority to repair and reconstruction of monuments in the Hanumandhoka Durbar Square.