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Caretakers helpless as rain batters Moenjodaro ruins

September 09, 2012


LARKANA, Sept 9: The rainwater gathering in corridors, lanes and rooms of the 5,000-year-old structures of Moenjodaro and unprofessional and unscientific methods to drain it out pose a serious threat to the ancient ruins of the Indus Civilisation.

It has been raining in and around Larkana since Thursday. The Moenjodaro Met Office recorded 25.5mm rainfall on Saturday and 53.5mm since Sept 5.

When this correspondent visited Moenjodaro, 30 kilometres from Larkana, on Saturday, untrained employees were seen pumping out rainwater from the DK area and DK North area’s structures into an old drain, which was built by Chief Engineer of the Archaeology Department Mohan Lal 10 years ago.

A dewatering machine has been installed to suck water from the lanes and rooms of the area. A number of labourers were seen gathering rainwater in buckets and throwing it from one area to another, protecting one structure and endangering the other.

“By tomorrow we will be able to drain out all rainwater from the structures and fill fissures developed in walls and ruins,” said Abdul Haq Bhimbhro, Project Director of Moenjodaro.

He said whatever was humanly possible was being done to save the structures and hoped to clear them of stagnant water by the next day.

The stagnant rainwater had developed fissures in the Stupa’s platform which were immediately filled. A small portion of corbel earth corner near the Great Bath collapsed and was left unrepaired, said sources in Moenjodaro conservation staff.

Mr Bhimbhro said if he continued to hold his position for four more years, he would finish the conservation work. He, however, said certain elements wanted to blame him for the collapse of walls  in an effort to deprive him of an extension.

The HR areas, Muneer Area, Dr Dale’s area, VS area and L area were also battered by heavy rains. The HR area has been neglected for long and has comparatively weaker structures.

He said the Sindh culture department which took over 129 archaeological sites in the province in the wake of enforcement of the 18th amendment had allocated Rs3 million for undertaking pre-monsoon work at Moenjodaro.

“As the work was in progress rains intervened and diverted our efforts to draining out rainwater,” he said, adding that his term as project director ended in June 2012 but the department told him to continue to work.

The structures face a serious threat from seeping rainwater from under the foundations of walls to find its own course in the absence of a proper drainage system.

A source in the department of archaeology said that the rains caused expansion in the structures followed by contraction when sunlight would strike it. This would greatly harm the ruins, said the source.

A member of the technical committee on Moenjodaro, Dr Kaleem Lashari, who visited the mound last week, opposed gathering rainwater in buckets from one room and throwing it into another with no drains.

He said the method saved one area at the cost of the other where it was being thrown.

Larkana Met Office measured heavy downpour on Saturday at 47.5mm.

It flooded almost all low-lying areas and submerged a number of roads. It also rained in Qambar-Shahdadkot district and its adjoining hilly areas.

Larkana Deputy Commissioner Asadullah Abro said the city had received 30.4mm rain, Bakrani 30mm, and Dokri 23mm and fortunately caused no damage on Saturday.