Regional government asks for help with Bagan repairs
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