Kathmandu, April 4:

The construction of a building to house the Natural History Museum on TU premises is yet to begin even as three decades have passed since the establishment of the museum, thanks to the lack of coordination among the authorities concerned.

Though thousands of specimens have been collected for the museum, they are literally dumped in a dilapidated building since 1975.

“While TU says the responsibility for the construction of the building lies with the Ministry of Education (MoE), the MoE in turn points fingers at University Grant Commission (UGC) and the Finance Ministry. The Finance Ministry says the government should include it in the annual plan through the National Planning Commission. The casualty of the blame game is the museum,” said Prof Dr Keshab Shrestha, chief of the museum. He said the construction is estimated to cost Rs 560 million.

According to the museum, there are at least 15,880 animal and plant species in the country. The NHM, the only biodiversity museum of the nation, has a collection of 55,000 specimens.

In 1999, the TU provided 200 ropanis of land in Kirtipur for the construction of the museum. “But we are confined to a dilapidated and congested hut-like building that was constructed in 1990 for a school hostel,” he said.

Shrestha said the authorities concerned — Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology and Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, the MoE and the Finance Ministry — were indifferent towards the museum. “The MoE has said that it wouldn’t take any initiative without the permission of the UGC,” he said.

Ram Prabesh Yadav, spokesperson for the MoE, expressed ignorance about the issue and referred this correspondent to UGC. “I exactly can’t say where the process has reached. However, this must be forwarded through UGC, as the museum falls under the university,” he said.

Kamal Krishna Joshi, chairman, UGC, said the UGC had already recommended the MoE to take forward the plan. Shrestha said the TU had been including the plan in its annual programmes since 2002. “However, we are waiting for government nod to realise the project.”