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Mohenjo Daro may lose world heritage tag

The site contains the remnants of one of two main centres of the ancient Indus civilization (c. 2500–1700 BCE), the other one being Harappa, some 640 km to the northwest…reports Asian Lite News

Pakistan’s department of archaeology has called for urgent attention towards conservation and restoration work at Mohenjo Daro apprehending that the site may be removed from the world heritage list if such work was not carried out.

Sources said that archaeological ruins of Mohenjo Daro had received record rains, measured at 779.5mm, which continued from Aug 16 to 26. It resulted in considerable damage to the site and partial falling of several walls, including the protection wall of the stupa dome.

It was learnt that the curator of the site in his Aug 29 letter to the director culture, antiquities and archaeology said “we have put in efforts to protect the site with our resources”.

The role of other departments — irrigation, roads, highways and forest — was quite essential for safeguarding the world heritage site, as landlords and farmers had not only inserted pipes and given cuts to canals and roads to release water into Mohenjo Daro’s channel.

However, due to negligence on the part of above-mentioned departments, the rainwater from nearby agriculture lands had filled disposal channel, the sources said.

This caused delay in driving out water from the site, the letter said, adding that water had entered even into the campus. After rains, the official concerned at the site had said: “We are facing another emergency in the shape of a constant rise in the Indus level.”

Although water level in Indus is low, due to the construction of metal road on the protection dyke near Mohenjo Daro, paired with occurrence of fissures, cavities and dangerous gullies, the department had approached local irrigation officials but in vain, according to the letter. No one had turned up to inspect the site and assess the situation, it said.

The archaeology official had called for immediate contact with the irrigation and roads departments for the repair of bund, breached canal dykes and removal of pipes.

The curator has proposed sending of experts (conservators and engineers) for an assessment of the damage caused to the site during downpours. Presently, the archaeology officials posted at Mohenjo Daro are busy repairing the damaged portions of the structures.

Tourists’ entry banned

Keeping in view that the heritage site Mohenjo-Daro situated on the right bank of Indus River is facing the danger of obliteration after braving the monstrosity of recent flash floods and torrential rains, the administration on Sunday banned the entry of tourists to the place.

The recent heavy spell of rains and concurrent floods which have ravaged large swathes of Sindh, have also taken a very heavy toll on the mounds and ruins of 5000-year-old historic city of Mohenjo Daro.

The authorities fearing its annihilation has put a ban on the entry of tourists to the place.

It is expected that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will visit the archeological site during his visit to Pakistan on Sept 11.

In a statement, the UN said that Secretary-General Guterres will travel to Pakistan for a solidarity visit given the “tragic situation facing millions of men, women, and children impacted by historic floods.”

The Secretary-General is expected to arrive in Islamabad on Sept 9 and will then travel to the areas most impacted by the unprecedented climate catastrophe.

He is expected to be back in New York on Sept 11 but before wrapping up his visit, he is also expected to visit Mohenjo-Daro. Mohenjo-Daro – a group of mounds and ruins on the right bank of the Indus River in northern Sindh – lies on the flat alluvial plain of the Indus, about 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Sukkur.

The site contains the remnants of one of two main centres of the ancient Indus civilization (c. 2500–1700 BCE), the other one being Harappa, some 400 miles (640 km) to the northwest in Punjab province.

The historic site also called City of Dead has received torrential rains and floods in recent days.

The department of archaeology has called for urgent attention towards its conservation and restoration work apprehending that the site may be removed from the world heritage list if such work was not carried out.

Meanwhile, the road link between Swat and Bahrain was restored.

The Pakistan Army engineering corps, NHA and district administration participated in the restoration work and repaired the damaged road.

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