The Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has started work on its Cultural Heritage Management Plan as it begins initial construction work on the Diamer Basha Dam Project. The plan is aimed at preserving pre-historic rock carvings and inscriptions that will be submerged by the reservoir formed by the dam.
Devised by international experts including Professor Dr. Harald Hauptman from Institute for Rock Carvings and Inscriptions, University of Heidelberg, Germany, the Cultural Heritage Management Plan conforms with requirements of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and national and international procedures and standards, said WAPDA.
The work will see about 5000 rock carvings and inscriptions ranging from 7th millennium B.C. to the 16th century A.D being 3-D scanned, documented, replicated and relocated. Protective treatment is also planned for important carved rock surfaces in the water reservoir drawdown band in addition to on-site protective mitigation through barriers, screens, signage, bracing etc. Preservation of rock carvings would not only provide an insight into the history of various people with different social, cultural and political traditions as well as religious beliefs but also exhibit strategic importance of the region.
The Cultural Heritage Management Plan also includes restoration and renovation of Chilas Fort, establishment of a museum and development of archives/library. Various measures relating to promotion of cultural tourism in the project area also constitute an integral part of the Plan. Capacity building of the local communities would also be ensured under the Plan so as to enable them to become tourist guides.