The reconstruction of the historic fort flouts the legal requirement

Ongoing reconstruction and excavation work at Bungnam Gadhi, a historic fort, in Okhaldhunga violates existing legal provision, archaeologists say.

In clear violation of the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act 2013, the Province 1 Ministry of Tourism rebuilt the fort without coordination with the Department of Archaeology. The fort’s bunkers were dismantled while the old stone walls were replaced with concrete walls as part of the reconstruction works.

“One should not rebuild such a historic fort without consulting the Department of Archaeology. The ministry is making a huge mistake,” said Bhogiraj Chamling, a PhD student researching Mundhum and Kirant’s story.

According to him, Bungnam Fort is around 400 to 700 years old and historically significant.

The fort spans two ropanis of land in Molung-1 Rural Municipality of Okhaldhunga District. During the current fiscal year, the provincial government has allocated Rs 5 million for the reconstruction of the monument. The reconstruction work, which began a few months ago with the formation of a consumer committee, should be completed during the current financial year which ends on July 16.

According to the laws in force, coordination with the Department of Archeology is essential for the reconstruction and excavation of historical monuments. However, the consumer committee carries out the work without coordination with the Department of Archaeology.

Dhan Bahadur Baniya, chairman of the consumer committee formed to rebuild the fort, said local people had asked the Department of Archeology to rebuild and preserve the monuments for years, but the department had not provided any support.

“We then asked the provincial government to rebuild the fort. Work on the fort has started with the budget provided by the provincial government in the current fiscal year,” Baniya said. According to him, the reconstruction work was carried out in accordance with the design and specifications prepared by the provincial government. He said he was not aware of the law relating to the reconstruction of historical monuments.

Meanwhile, the archeology department says it has not obtained any information regarding the reconstruction of the fort.

“In accordance with the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act 2013, the reconstruction of any historic monument must be carried out in coordination with the Department of Archaeology. The department has no information on the reconstruction of the fort. The work is therefore clearly against the law,” said Ram Bahadur Kunwar, spokesperson for the department.

Sub-Clause 4(1) of Clause 16 of the Preservation of Ancient Monuments Act 2013 states that a person shall be liable to a fine of up to Rs 25,000 or imprisonment five years or two if discovered excavating historical monuments without obtaining permission from the Department of Archaeology. . Similarly, sub-clause 5(2) states that a person shall be liable to a fine of up to Rs 15,000 or imprisonment for three years or both if the excavation works are carried out without informing the head of the district.

“The district administration office has also not been informed about the reconstruction and excavation of Bungnam Fort. We will look into the matter,” said Okhaldhunga District Chief Dil Kumar Tamang.

Comments are closed.