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Pricey Son La statue needs approval: PM

Update: August, 07/2015 - 09:38
Ho Chi Minh statue in Nguyen Hue Street, HCM City. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday stepped into an argument about building a US$9 million statue of Ho Chi Minh in the northern mountainous province of Son La. — Photo thanhnien.com.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday stepped into an argument about building a US$9 million statue of Ho Chi Minh in the northern mountainous province of Son La.

Dung ordered the People's Committee in the province to separate the plan to build the statue from plans to build a public square covering 20 hectares.

The province was asked to send a report on building the statue to the Secretariat of the Central Committee Communist Party of Viet Nam for verification.

It was told it would only be allowed to start construction if the Secretariat gave the green light, he said.

The move came after public outrage at the plan to build a square and statue, costing about VND1.4 trillion ($64 million) starting on October 11.

At a press conference on Wednesday, the provincial People's Committee said that the money would be spent building the statue, worth about VND200 billion ($9.1 million), a Ho Chi Minh temple, a monument to heroes, a flower garden and a park.

In a related move, Dung said in a legal document issued on Tuesday that localities should consider local needs and socio-economic development before building public squares.

The document was written in response to questions raised by National Assembly Deputy Le Viet Truong from the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang at the ninth session of the 13th National Assembly, which ended in late June.

Truong had asked about localities that built squares that cost billions of dong, despite the State's limited budget and increasing public debt.

In 2014, HCM City has started work on what it claims is the biggest square in Viet Nam. It covers more than 20ha and will eventually costs a total of about VND2 trillion ($91.6 million). Work is expected to be finished within three years.

A recent survey by the Viet Nam Association of Architects recorded 35 regional squares throughout the country.

Dung said that under the Law on the State Budget, squares should be built using local budgets and other legal capital sources.

Building squares in urban areas created more public space, and helped cities catch up with current trends in other modern urban parts of Viet Nam.

Dung also said that the chairmen of People's Committees had to approve squares before they were built. — VNS

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