The restoration of the dilapidated buildings of the historic Panam Nagar could not be begun as department of archaeology has yet to make a contract with a Korean company that proposed to fund the project two years back.
Korean company Youngone Corporation in 2016 expressed its interest to fund and execute the restoration work of Panam Nagar, which was established in late 19th century as a trading centre of cotton fabrics during the British rule.
As part of an initial understanding between the archaeology department and Youngone Corporation, the 52 old buildings at Panam Nagar will be restored and tourist facilities will be developed at the historic site.
However, the archaeology department and Youngone Corporation could not reach a consensus on whether the site will remain open or closed to tourists during the restoration works. As long as the matter is not settled, the contract cannot be signed and the restoration works won’t begin, said archaeology department officials.
Archaeology department wants the restoration work to be done in at least three phases so that the site remains open for tourists, while the Youngone Corporation wants to do the restoration works at one go closing the site to tourists during the work.
‘We have been in talks with the Youngone Corporation about the extensive restoration of Panam Nagar. However, we have not been able to sign the MoU yet as the archaeology department and Youngone Corporation could not reach a consensus about some minor issues’, said Altaf Hossain, director general of archaeology department.
Besides, the archaeology department and Youngone Corporation wants to establish a training foundation to train people in heritage restoration works but they have not come to a consensus about its formation and how it will function.
‘These are all minor differences. We hope the MoU will be signed very soon and the restoration works will begin,’ said Hossain adding that the restoration project will take five years.
‘At the training foundation, which will be established beside Panam Nagar, locals will be trained on archaeological restoration and documentation by foreign and local experts’, said Hossain, who hopes that the trained local manpower will be used in future restoration projects.
Youngone Corporation earlier funded and supervised restoration of Bara Sardar Bari, which is located inside Bangladesh Folk Art and Craft Foundation, beside the Panam Nagar at Sonargaon, Narayanganj.
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