Work on Bombay Burmah house begins

Work on Bombay Burmah house begins

The 127-year-old building in Phrae is seen before it was torn down. (Photo by Subin Khuenkaew)
The 127-year-old building in Phrae is seen before it was torn down. (Photo by Subin Khuenkaew)

The Fine Arts Department has begun rebuilding a demolished trading post that once belonged to the Bombay Burmah Trading Co in Phrae on Monday.

Deputy department director-general Arunsak Kingmani visited the northern province to oversee the restoration project on Monday, as department officials made an inventory of the teakwood which were dismantled from the house.

Mr Arunsak said officials will draft a blueprint of the house, which will be based on available photographs of the 127-year-old wooden house.

He added that department archaeologists would excavate the house's foundation, in order to see if valuables were indeed buried beneath the structure as local residents said.

"It's quite common to find antiques under the foundation of a historical building," he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Varawut Silpa-archa, on Monday said that he will launch a disciplinary probe against the chief of the Chetawan Arboretum, where the house is located.

“I have instructed the DNP to transfer the chief of the Protected Area Regional Office 13 pending an investigation. If he is found guilty, I will not protect him,” he said.

The Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) will bear the cost of restoring the building to its previous state, Mr Varawut added.

The minister vowed to take care of the wood removed from the house and urged the public to alert the authorities if they know someone who has sold or purchased the wood.

Separately, Senator Khamnoon Sitthisamarn said at a Senate meeting the demolition of Bombay Burmah house is a criminal action since the building is considered as an archaeological site, citing Section 4 of the Act on Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums.

The senator also inquired about the ministry’s next step in handling the matter — both in terms legal action and restoration — and suggested the cabinet come up with guidelines to prevent a similar problem in the future.

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