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Ethnographic museum remains in limbo

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1 Ethnographic museum remains in limbo on Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:02 am

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Ethnographic museum remains in limbo
BY DEV KUMAR SUNUWAR

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KATHMANDU, June 14 - The much-hyped project to build an ethnographic museum in Kirtipur has been stalled a decade after the commencement of its construction work — thanks to lack of adequate funds.


A group of anthropologists and sociologists had started the work of establishing ‘Nepal National Ethnographic Museum’ at Champadevi area 12 years ago with the objective of showcasing things of cultural and religious importance of all communities in the country.

“It’s almost stalled since we lack both the funds and a master plan,” said Ganesh Gurung, a founding member of the Museum and Professor of Anthropology at Tribhuvan University. “We tried our best but in vain.”

Initially, the plan was to build a museum reflecting Nepal’s territorial map. In which, over 100 ethnic groups’ settlements, traditional-houses, life-styles, religions, cultures, etc. , would be depicted. It was expected that this would go to boost the country’s tourism industry beside highlighting the diversity that is Nepal while at the same time serving as a ceter for learning. The Nepal government had provided 200 ropanies land in Champadevi, Kirtipur Municipality.

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) had been promoting it ever since the idea was conceived. It has set up displays of 15 different ethnic communities in the Museum premises. “But it still lacks promotion,” said Subash Niraula, the director of NTB.

“It is of great importance both for marketing tourism and for demographic studies. We should make efforts to expedite the construction work,” said Niraula.

The delay in the construction work was also partly caused by the embezzlement of funds by certain unscrupulous people, according to Som Prasad Gauchan, the president of Nepal National Ethnographic Museum.

He argued that donors have been reluctant to put more money on the Museum for that reason. Currently, the Museum is being run with the financial assistance of Rs 500,000 a year being provided by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTA) and Rs 200,000 from National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN) since last year.

“This is also a way to pass on one’s cultural heritage to the next generation,” said Gauchan.

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