Chairman of the Steering Committee for Restoration and Conservation of Pagodas in Bagan Vice President U Myint Swe addressed the fourth meeting of the committee held at the Bagan Archaeological Museum yesterday after inspecting the restoration and conservation works conducted on August 2016 earthquake-hit Bagan pagodas.
Earlier in the morning, the Vice President accompanied by Union Minister for Border Affairs Lt-Gen Ye Aung, Mandalay Region acting Chief Minister U Zarni Aung, Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture U Kyi Min, Region ministers, Region Hluttaw representatives, Permanent Secretaries, department heads, officials from Myanmar Engineering Society, Association of Myanmar Architects and advisory team inspected the restoration and conservation works conducted on the earthquake-hit Thatbyinnyu Temple where Archaeology and National Museum Department Director General U Kyaw Oo Lwin and assistant engineer Daw Thanda Aung provided necessary explanations.
Next the Vice President went to inspect the restoration and conservation works conducted on the Htilominlo Temple where Department of Buildings Deputy Director General U Ye Min Zaw provided necessary explanations.
Afterwards, the Vice President inspected the Payathonzu Temple where Archaeology and National Museum Department Director U Aung Aung Kyaw explained about restoration and conservation works conducted there.
From there, the Vice President went to inspect restoration and conservation works conducted on the Nan Paya Temple where Director General U Kyaw Oo Lwin, German Bagan Stone Conservation Project Director Prof. Dr Hans Leisen and Dr Esther von Plehwe-Leisen provided necessary explanations.
While inspecting the temples, the Vice President stressed the need to follow the suggestions of experts in conducting restoration and conservation works, retain the original forms and styles and to ensure that the structures would be able to withstand future natural disasters.
After inspecting the restoration and conservation works conducted on the temples, the Vice President visited the Bagan Archaeological Museum where museum official Deputy Director U Nyi Mon provided necessary explanations.
Later, the Vice President addressed the fourth meeting of the Steering Committee for Restoration and Conservation of Pagodas in Bagan held at the Bagan Archaeological Museum.
In his address the Vice President said that the Bagan cultural region was a place where invaluable thousand years old ancient pagodas and temples can be seen. Due to the participation of the entire country, the Bagan region had become a world heritage site. It was not only an outstanding region in Myanmar but also a region that attracts international interests.
A total of 389 pagodas were damaged by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake on 24 August 2016. The Steering Committee for Restoration and Conservation of Pagodas in Bagan was formed and necessary work committees, sub-committees, Advisory Team, Technical Expert Team and international cooperation committee were also formed.
In financial year 2017-2018, about 300,000 international visitors visited the Bagan cultural region. In financial year 2018-2019, over 400,000 international visitors visited it. As this region had become a world heritage site, there would be more international visitors and the region needs to be continuously and systematically maintained.
Restoration and conservation works on earthquake-hit temples were started right after the earthquake occurred by local and foreign experts, related ministerial departments, region government, region authorities, locals and charity groups. Following the earthquake, local and foreign experts including UNESCO set priorities for renovation and restoration of damaged pagodas: 36 pagodas to be renovated as first priority, 53 as second priority and 76 the third priority, and minor restoration for 224 in all. During the three year period to date, 26 pagodas in the first priority, 43 in the second priority, 66 in the third priority and 224 minor restorations totaling 359 were restored and conserved. At the moment restoration and conservation works were underway on 19 while 11 remained to be worked on. He expressed special thanks to all who had cooperated and participated in the restoration and conservation works.
In carrying out restoration and conservation works a four-year plan was drawn up and year wise preventive works against possible future disasters were conducted. Much emphasis needs to be placed towards restoring and conserving the temples to their original form. Restoring and conservation works on remaining 11 were to be conducted in the same way, said the Vice President. Related ministries were to provide support and assistance for materials used in restoration and conservation works to be carried out according to the ancient cultural heritage standards and norms. Local and foreign experts, departmental organizations, all were to continuously coordinate and work together. Restoration and conservation works were to be conducted systematically from the viewpoint of religious belief as well as according to the suggestions of the international cooperation committee.
Donation money received up to 31 October 2019 for the restoration and conservation works reached over K 6.5724 billion, about US$ 1.1 million, Thai Baht 10820, Singapore $ 7250, Japan Yen 30000 and other kinds of currencies. The Vice President also urged the authorities concerned to use the donations systematically under the supervision of the officially formed committee.
Following the address of the Vice President, meeting attendees explained about their respective works and discussed about future works.
Vice President U Myint Swe gave suggestions and comments to ensure coordination based on the explanations and discussions and the meeting came to a close after his concluding remarks. — MNA (Translated by Zaw Min)