Museum on the brink of collapse

KATHMANDU: The dilapidated building of the only biodiversity museum in the country — Natural History Museum — is on the verge of collapse, all thanks to the authorities’ indifference to put it high on the list of priorities.

Umpteenth attempts to build a well-equipped building have been unsuccessful even after its genesis 33 years ago. Although it was established in 1975, Tribhuvan University had provided 200 ropanis of land on the university premises in Kirtipur for the construction of the museum in 1999. “But we’re still confined in a dilapidated and congested ordinary hut-like house,” said Prof Dr Keshab Shrestha, chief, NHM. “The building has begun crumbling now.”

According to him, thousands of specimens of flora and fauna, which have been accumulated in the dilapidated building, are on the verge of extinction along with the building. The NHM has so far collected 55,000 specimens of wildlife, plants and fossils — 60 per cent of the total species’ samples.

The problem persists due to lack of mutual coordination among TU, Ministry of Education, University Grant Commission and Ministry of Finance, according to the NHM. Besides, the MoF also seeks approval from the National Planning Commission to carry out the project, said Shrestha.

Shrestha also lamented as this fiscal budget too failed to address their plight as after the UGC submitted its recommendation only after the fiscal budget announcement.

The coordination process is very much intricate as various line ministries — forest and soil conservation, environment, science and technology — and Nepal Academy of Science and Technology have to give green signal for the making of the biodiversity museum. “TU has been including the plan in its annual programme since 2002. However, we are waiting for the government will to materialise it.”

Lekhnath Paudel, spokesperson at the MoE, said that a proposal for the assistance for the purpose had been sent to the JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) through the MoF recently.