Historical papers in poor state

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 12, 2015-

More than 100,000 classified dossiers, including copies of treaties and agreements, trade transit dating as far back as to the Malla regime are languishing as they have not been archived properly due to lack of funds.

Since the country was declared republic in 2008,  Sheetal Niwas—a former seat of the Foreign Ministry—before moving into Narayanhiti and then into Singha Durbar, these documents have been left in lurch, and waiting for chemically cleaning before being digitally archived.

In 2013, the ministry had handed over the dossiers and documents to the Office of National Archives.

“Two years ago, the Foreign Ministry had assured us a budget of Rs 2.5 million for the purpose. We could not even able to clean these documents as we have not receive the amount as yet,” said Prakash Darnal, an official at the National Archives, adding that the Foreign Ministry had assured that it would manage funds internally to secure the documents. 

On top of Rs2.5 million, Darnal added, the office needs millions of rupees more for archiving purpose. But the Foreign Ministry passed on the buck to the Finance Ministry, saying that the latter did not allocate the funds.

According to Darnal, the ancient documents dating back hundreds of years—sealed and packed in 1,200 sacks—occupy one big room, compounding the problem. 

Hundreds of working documents prepared by the Foreign Ministry in the past are languishing in Narayanhiti, says a senior foreign ministry official, expressing dismay over the ministry’s indifferent approach. “Now we have started picking them,” the official said. 

Known as Munsi Khana in ancient times, the Foreign Ministry is one of the oldest government offices running and preservation of these historically important documents could not be stressed more, the official added. A provision under the National Archives Act 1990 requires documents older than 25 years should be brought under the archival system. 

Unaccounted documents but with historical value could number more than 100,000, according to the officials. Those interested in reading the horoscope chart of late king Prithivi Narayan Shah, correspondence by the then Rana government with the British government during the time of Sugauli Treaty, and other correspondence made by previous governments, which are now declassified, will be accessible to the public. 

Published: 12-08-2015 11:30

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