Friday, January 11, 2008

Up to Bt200m sought for royal cremation structures

Up to Bt200m sought for royal cremation structures

The Fine Arts Department is seeking a budget of at least Bt150 million for the construction of a royal crematorium and surrounding structures for the royal funeral of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana.

Published on January 8, 2008

The elder sister of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away at the age of 84 last Wednesday.

"The budget should be between Bt150 million and Bt200 million," the department's director-general, Grienggrai Sumpatchalit, said yesterday.

He said the cost estimate was based on the Bt165 million spent for HRH the Princess Mother's royal crematorium and surrounding structures in 1995.

Grienggrai said the design for the royal crematorium for the King's sister was a new draft based on old traditions and ancient beliefs about three worlds (earth, hell and heaven). Surrounding structures will include pavilions, toilets and entertainment halls.

"The construction will take at least four months," Grienggrai said, adding that between 300 and 400 workers will be needed.

Arvudh Ngernchuklin, who chairs the Fine Arts Department's panel in charge of the royal-cremation construction, said the draft design of the royal crematorium for the Princess was now ready to be forwarded to His Majesty for consideration.

Culture Minister Khunying Khaisri Sri-aroon said the draft would be presented today to the committee organising the Princess's royal funeral. Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont heads the panel.

"The government will then present the draft to His Majesty," she said.

Khaisri yesterday met with His Majesty's Deputy Principal Private Secretary Thanpuying Putrie Viravaidya to discuss the preparations for the royal funeral.

She added that relevant officials would be urgently deployed to clean and renovate chariots to be used in the royal crematorium.

Meanwhile, the National Archives of Thailand is now compiling information on the royal cremation.

Putrie said information from all media, including newspapers and TV broadcasts, would be collected. Documents from the Royal Household Bureau, announcements about the Princess's illness and treatment at Siriraj Hospital, and details about the royal funeral will be compiled.

Pakamard Jaichalard

The Nation

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