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Unesco experts get down to work to save Mohenjo Daro

Unesco experts get down to work to save Mohenjo Daro

DADU: Unesco experts Thierry Joffroy and Ms Kristina on Saturday inspected rain-hit parts of the 5,000-year-old Mohenjo Daro town and carried out experiments on mud-bricked walls and drainage system to help improve functioning of the existing drains so that rainwater drained out smoothly in future without causing any damage to structures during monsoon season.

The experts, who were accompanied by teachers and students of the Aror University of Art, Architecture, Design and Heritage, Sukkur; Mehran University of Engineering and Technology and Sindh University, Jamshoro; observed ongoing work on restoration and preservation in H, VS and K areas of the ancient town.

They held a meeting with staff of curator’s office, including director Syed Shakir Ali Shah, engineer Ali Hyder, archaeologist Altaf Aseem, architect Naveed Ahmed Sangah and curator Roheel, who briefed the team about their work at the Moehnjo Daro.

About the nature of the experts’ experiments, Sindh Minister for Tourism and Culture Syed Sardar Ali Shah told Dawn that the experts were working to find out a permanent solution to rainwater drainage at Mohenjo Daro by giving smooth passage to water and helping it drain out smoothly without causing any damage to ancient remains during rains. Space would be created between mud-bricked walls for the purpose, he said.

He said that the experts had been working at the site since Jan 15, and would continue the work till Jan 23. Unesco had released $150,000 grant out of which $75,000 were to be spent on projects for preserving Mohenjo Daro and Makli necropolis from rains and other natural disasters in future, he said.

He said that Mr Joffroy would submit a report and recommendations to the Unesco after the visit and the UN agency would then formulate guidelines and send them to Sindh government.

The minister said that the culture, tourism and archeology department would follow the recommendations of Unesco experts and scholars of the universities of Aror, MUET and Sindh University who had shared with the government their researches and suggestions on heritage and ancient architecture.

Aror University’s vice chancellor Prof Dr Samreen Hussein said that town planning was at its best in Mohenjo Daro. Even during heavy rains, not a single drop of water stayed in any nook or cranny of the town thanks to the best drainage system, which was working adequately till this day, she said.

She said that experts of archaeology, heritage and town planning of the Aror University shared their researches with Unesco experts on how to protect and preserve Mohenjo Daro from disasters. They would continue to share their suggestions with the foreign experts, she said.

Director General of Culture Archeology and Tourism Sindh, Manzoor Ahmed Kanasro, said that another Unesco consultant Rend Ebic would visit Malki necropolis after three days to finalise report on the rain-caused damage to structures and make recommendations on how to protect the historical site from damage during natural disasters.

A research scholar of architecture, Missal Abbasi, suggested the Sindh government should follow the town planning model of Mohenjo Daro to protect the province’s towns from problems caused by failure of drainage system during disasters.

Published in Dawn, January 22th, 2023

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