Quake-hit monuments on the verge of collapse due to rainfall

Published On: August 22, 2016 12:03 AM NPT By: Gyan P Neupane  | @GyaNeupane

KATHMANDU, Aug 22: Despite sustaining heavy damages by last year's earthquakes, Thapathali's  Gorakhnath Temple was still standing. But in lack of proper preservation, the already vulnerable Rana-era temple collapsed due to heavy rainfall two weeks ago.  

A similar incident occurred last week. A section of the quake-hit Silkhana Durbar at Lagan of Kathmandu, which was built by Bhimsen Thapa about two-hundred years ago, gave way in heavy rainfall burying a vehicle parked alongside the premise of the palace. However, no one was injured in both the incidents.

Ganapati Lal Shrestha, a heritage conservation activist, said that these two incidents could be taken just as representative cases of the vulnerability of quake-affected monuments. 

“In lack of proper preservation, dozens of historical monuments affected by quakes are on the verge of collapse in this monsoon,” he said.

The abandoned monuments are also posing serious threat to the pedestrians.

Kathmandu Valley's Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also risking the lives of the pedestrians and tourists from various parts of the world.

“The walls of the palace inside Hanumandhoka are also in a sorry state due to negligence and are vulnerable to continuous rainfall. But the concerned authorities have just remained apathetic to the problem. I fear the monuments might collapse and kill people like it happened during the earthquakes,” he Shrestha.

Shrestha said that the water leakage through the cracks in the monuments caused by last year's earthquakes is also hampering conservation work of the monuments. "The local authorities are unable to remove the tilted steeple of Indraini temple at Dhalku of Kathmandu as the temple has become vulnerable after being exposed to rain," he added. 

Similarly, conservationists said that various monuments affected by earthquakes in Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts are also on the verge of collapse for lack of proper preservation. 

But the Department of Archeology (DoA) is yet to come up with any preservation plan for the quake-hit monuments during monsoon. 

“As our current priority is reconstruction of the collapsed monuments, we do not have any such plan for preservation of the monuments which have developed cracks and are vulnerable during monsoon,” said Ram Bahadur Kuwar, spokesperson of the DoA.

He said that the DoA had distributed tarpaulins to the locals for protecting the quake-hit monuments from rainfall. “But we do not know if the tarpaulins have been used for preservation of monuments or not,” he added.    

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