KATHMANDU : The government said that it was preparing to retrofit the Gallery Baithak, the old parliament building in the Singha Durbar, from coming mid-December. The Ministry of Urban Development informed the office-bearers of the Delegated Legislation and Government Assurances Committee under the National Assembly in a meeting today that the Gallery Baithak would be retrofitted in its original style.
Minister for Urban Development Sita Gurung assured that the historical building carrying a unique Nepali architectural significance would be retrofitted and rebuilt as it is. The Rana-era building was damaged in the Gorkha Earthquake in 2015. Stating that the building stood as a witness of parliamentary history of Nepal, Minister Gurung assured that there would be no damages in the architectural style of the building while retrofitting and rebuilding.
An action-plan is taken forward to retrofit and rebuild the Gallery Baithak as a museum so the future generation could obtain knowledge about Nepal’s parliamentary history, according to the Minister. Preparing an action-plan for reconstruction, budget management and implementation of the Gallery Baithak fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Urban Development. It is estimated that retrofitting and rebuilding the over a century old building in its original style would be costlier since it is built of mud and traditional materials.
According to the Director-General of the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, Surendra Mohan Shrestha, the design work for the building construction has already been moved ahead and the bidding process is expected to begin once the design report is achieved by mid-August.
“We are making every effort to preserve the original structure of this building, which holds a 100-year-old history, to the highest level. Our focus is on maintaining its authenticity in terms of design and architecture,” he said. In the current fiscal year, Rs 150 million has been allocated to undertake the retrofitting of the building. The building was damaged by the 2015 earthquake, and since then, there have been discussions on whether to retrofit or rebuild it.
Nepal’s parliamentary history began in 2016 BS from that building. Earlier in the meeting, the Director General Shrestha expressed his happiness that efforts made by the members not to erase the history of the Gallery Baithak carrying the unique values of Nepaliness, architecture and painting was going to be materialized.
“We are very happy that the building is getting retrofitted,” said the Committee President Maya Prasad Sharma. Members Tulasa Kumari Dahal and Garima Shah stressed that the unique Nepali traditional architectural style should be reflected in the building.
In the parliamentary history of the country, the House of Representatives meeting used to be held in the Gallery Baithak for a long time. However, the Parliament shifted to the Parliament Building in New Baneshwor after the HoR members increased to 601 following the election of the Constituent Assembly. RSS