KMC for detailed assessment of heritage houses of Valley

KATHMANDU: The Department of Archaeology and Kathmandu Metropolitan City have asked the owners of historical and heritage houses that were destroyed by the quakes to seek help to carry out Detailed Damaged Assessment to restore and repair them as soon as possible.

The owners have been requested to submit the recent photo of the historic and heritage houses older than 100 years to their respective ward offices. The owners should also furnish details explaining the damage and conditions of the heritage houses.

The officials have told the owners to salvage the traditional wooden windows, doors, pillars, bricks, stones, artifacts and struts of archaeological, historical and cultural significance before demolishing the damaged heritage houses for building back better. “The wooden pillars, windows, doors, brick and stones can be reused for the restoration of the damaged heritage homes. The historical and traditional construction materials cannot be neglected wholly,” said Shriju Pradhan, coordinator of Heritage Conservation and Community Mobilisation at KMC.

The owners must renovate the partially and seriously damaged historical houses as per the Ancient Monument Preservation Act, 1956 by preparing and providing the inventory and house design to KMC. According to the Act, the owners are prohibited to change architecture, design and outlook of the heritage houses older than 100 years.

“The owners will be punished as per the law if they demolish, remove, alter and deface the structures or transfer ownership to others except the Government of Nepal or erect any other structure near the old monuments,” Pradhan warned.

Moreover, the owners, traders and buyers will face legal action if they are found to be trading in the archaeological and historical construction materials.

The rapid visual damage assessment carried out by KMC has recorded that 1,125 heritage homes had suffered damage in the quakes, Pradhan said. Before the quakes, KMC had developed a preliminary inventory of 1,200 historical houses more than 100 years old under its project ‘Heritage Home Preliminary Inventory’.

Anil Maharjan, Coordinator of the HHPI project, said several historical houses dating back to Lichchhavi, Malla, Shah and Rana eras were cracked, tilted and destroyed by the tremors. The walls of precarious historic buildings have been kept supported by wooden and iron beams and bamboo to prevent them from falling.