Museum’s expiry at hand?

The Statesman
11 Dec 2013

rarest of rare himalayan species on display in darjeeling
Former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi,
well-wisher of present chief minister Mamata Banerjee, had proposed the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park authority to renovate its Bengal Natural History Museum in Darjeeling but the north Bengal development department allegedly discarded. It was decided earlier that the state’s departments ~ forest, tourism and north Bengal development ~ would extend financial help jointly but the project has been stalled due to fund crunch midway due to lack of coordination among three departments during the Trinamul regime while the CM deals with Darjeeling Hill affairs

DIPEN PRADHAN
dipensmt@gmail.com

Darjeeling, 10 December
Peeved by the authorities’ nonchalance, the renowned Bengal Natural History museum of Darjeeling operating since 1903 is at serious dilapidation.
The noble work established to cater the need of educating and introducing various species found in the great Himalayan region, that balances our ecosystem, is soon to be covered with dust if the authority continues to ignore the gravity of ‘importance to preserve education both in words and in action.’
The rarest of rare species found in the Himalayan region is at display at the natural history museum presently located at Bishop Eric Benjamin road or below Chowrasta, Darjeeling.
The museum is the house of more than 4,300 specimens. It houses 822 birds’ specimens with the collection of bird eggs. It has 67 species of mammals, 35 snake species, 57 species of fishes, 608 species of moths and butterflies and 1,104 beetles, dragonflies and other insects. Also, the skins of animals, taxidermy is at display at the museum.
Notably, the interests in collecting these species by a general public is strictly banned and one could even be answerable to law if found illegally supplying these specimens.
One visiting the museum can experience a thrilling ambience of the medieval classic construction ~ an old house with old furniture, the screeching stairs; dim light conveys a feel that mankind is not alone.
In 1903, the then Lt. Governor of Bengal had initiated the idea of starting a museum. The present building was completed in 1915. The Bengal Natural Society was formed in 1923 for management of the museum. In 1976, the state forest department took over the society. The management falls under the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP), according to the brochure of the museum.
Luckily, the museum is still survived. Thanks to the farsighted construction thoughts of the British that even after a century, the old building stands. However, in saying so, everything has an expiry date and plastering the outer layer of the wall is not farsighted all the time.

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