Re­gional govern­ment asks for help with Ba­gan re­pairs

The Myanmar Times - - News - MAUNG ZAW maungzaw@mm­

THE De­part­ment of Spe­cial Con­struc­tion has been asked by the Man­dalay Re­gion govern­ment to as­sist in the restora­tion of six pago­das that were se­verely dam­aged in the 6.8-mag­ni­tude earth­quake that struck near Ba­gan in Au­gust.

Ac­cord­ing to U Soe Tint, an of­fi­cer in Nyaung-U town­ship’s general ad­min­is­tra­tion de­part­ment, as­sis­tance from the na­tional govern­ment has been sought due to a lack of capable staff in the re­gional pub­lic ser­vice.

“The pro­posal was sub­mit­ted in the se­cond week of Oc­to­ber. These six pago­das suf­fered se­vere dam­age and there are only four en­gi­neers in our ar­chae­ol­ogy de­part­ment, which is not enough. It would take a long time for these four peo­ple to mend the dam­aged pago­das, along with all the oth­ers for which they are re­spon­si­ble. That’s why [we have asked that] the re­pairs to these six pago­das be un­der­taken by the De­part­ment of Spe­cial Con­struc­tion,” he said.

The six structures in ques­tion are the Ta Yote Pyay, Gupyuk­gyi, Bu­lalthi, Py­athat­gyi, Say­ta­nar­gyi and Su­la­mani pago­das. The roofs of the lat­ter three pago­das suf­fered ex­ten­sive dam­age in the quake, ac­cord­ing to U Soe Tint.

“The re­gional govern­ment will sub­mit our pro­posal to the Pyi­daungsu Hlut­taw. While we wait for a re­sponse, the re­gional govern­ment will con­tinue emer­gency con­ser­va­tion works. We are cur­rently clean­ing, mend­ing and con­struct­ing scaf­fold­ing at these six pago­das,” he said. Nyaung-U town­ship of­fi­cial

The De­part­ment of Spe­cial Con­struc­tion was also charged with un­der­tak­ing restora­tion works in Ba­gan fol­low­ing a 1975 earth­quake. But the re­pair works con­ducted at the time were of a poor qual­ity and have been an on­go­ing bar­rier to the govern­ment’s ef­forts to have Ba­gan added to UNESCO’s list of World Her­itage Sites, which it aims to ap­ply for next year.

The des­ig­na­tion would be a ma­jor boost for the global pro­file of Ba­gan, al­ready one of Myan­mar’s biggest tourist draws.

Since Au­gust’s earth­quake, cen­tred in Chauk town­ship, dam­aged around 400 pago­das in Ba­gan, the re­gional govern­ment has en­acted a se­ries of pro­tec­tion mea­sures in­clud­ing ban­ning ve­hi­cles from driv­ing within 100 me­tres of some quakeaf­fected sites due to the potential for dam­age to be caused by vi­bra­tions. Su­la­mani Pagoda, one of those badly af­fected by the tem­blor, is sched­uled to be added to this no-driv­ing list in the near fu­ture.

– Trans­la­tion by Emoon

‘These six pago­das suf­fered se­vere dam­age and there are only four en­gi­neers in our de­part­ment.’

U Soe Tint

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