Category: News @ Ayutthaya.

Budget sought to repair ancient Ayutthaya sites

SAMRIT JEAMJARUANPORNKUL
THE NATION

The Culture Ministry will ask the Cabinet tomorrow for an initial budget of Bt1.4 billion to rehabilitate flooded ancient sites in Ayutthaya, especially on the city’s island.

Unesco is sending international engineering experts to survey the structural integrity of the historical sites, as they are feared at risk of collapsing from prolonged submersion.

Supoj Phrommanote, director of Fine Arts Office 3, said after meeting with Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome at the Sam Phraya National Museum yesterday morning that most sites were severely damaged, especially Chaiwatthanaram Temple, which was swamped by 50 centimetres of water.

Other temples badly hit were Phra Si Sanphet, Phra Ram, Mahathat, Ratburana, Langka and Khun Meeuang Jai.

Repairing them would require Bt700 million to Bt800 million, so the provincial and local bodies agreed to prioritise the key tourist attractions, including Vihara Phramongkolbopitr and Phra Si Sanphet Temple. They should be restored in three months, Supoj said.

Anek Sihamat, deputy director-general of the Fine Arts Department, said the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation would send engineers from the Netherlands, Japan and India to work with the Engineering Institute of Thailand in assessing the flood damage to the ancient sites’ structure from November 27 to December 1.

They will also study long-term flood solutions and assist in the renovation plan, he added.

Sukumol said the process would start with cleaning and re-landscaping. Of the initial budget, Bt600 million would go to the restoration of 127 Ayutthaya ancient sites in one year, while the rest would go to restoration of other ancient sites, the Bunditpatanasilpa Institute, and the ministry’s Permanent Secretary’s Office and Religious Affairs Department.

The long-term plans will need further discussion, she said.

She is scheduled to join the launch on Thursday of the “Big Cleaning Day” campaign for World Heritage Sites.

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Category: News @ Ayutthaya