Memorial project halted after controversial investment revision

TN News

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Authorities in the central province of Quang Nam Friday ordered a halt to the construction of a huge memorial statue that caused a stir when its revised investment climbed to over VND410 billion (US$19.7 million) recently.

The statue will have its construction delayed, pending a government decision, according to the provincial People's Committee. The statue is aimed to commemorate Vietnamese women whose children and husbands sacrificed in the Vietnamese revolution against French and American colonialism and imperialism

In the meantime, the project's investor, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, will cooperate with related agencies to review all cost estimates for the statue, authorities said.

Earlier this week local newswire VnExpress quoted Vu Duc Dam, head of the Government Office, as saying that the central government currently doesn't have enough money for the project.

Dam made the statement after Quang Nam authorities announced that they would ask the government's for financial support.

The project was first approved in 2007 with a total investment of VND81 billion ($3.9 million), more than 61 percent of which would come from the state budget, as the government planned it to be an official national monument.

Under the plan, the statue will cover more than 15 hectares, including a memorial house with the names of nearly 50,000 Vietnamese "heroic mothers."

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The statue is the portrait of Nguyen Thi Thu, known as one of Vietnam greatest mothers. She had nine sons, one son-in-law, and two grandchildren who died fighting foreign occupation. Thu died last December at 106 years old.

But Quang Nam's new investment plan for the statue has provoked controversy.

Some said the project is significant in terms of history and culture, while others criticized its huge cost, saying it is a waste, considering Vietnam currently slumping economy.

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