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Limbo hangs over authorities failing to complete public building in northern Vietnam

Wednesday, October 31, 2018, 15:22 GMT+7
Limbo hangs over authorities failing to complete public building in northern Vietnam
An incomplete mixed-use building stands in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The administration of a northern Vietnamese city is grappling in vain with how to find sufficient funding for the completion of a dilapidated public building, which results from an attempt to merely satisfy criteria on rural development.

The uncompleted building, nearly 900 square meters in area, is becoming run-down as its construction is delayed indefinitely due to a lack of financing.

Many of its walls expose brickwork, and weeds grow untamed at the site, which is a 1,000-square-meter piece of land.     

An incomplete mixed-use building stands in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
An incomplete mixed-use building stands in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Weeds grow inside the building, seen in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Weeds grow inside the building, seen in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The two-story mixed-used building, literally called ‘cultural house,’ is expected as a center for residents in Lam Dong Commune of Thuy Nguyen District, located on the outskirts of coastal Hai Phong City, to visit for musical and theatrical performances, sports events and meetings with the government.

Lying in front of the building on the same premises is a 5,000-square-meter stadium whose construction has stopped midway.

In early 2015, the municipal administration decided to allocate VND15 billion ($645,000) to projects that help finish the ‘New Rural Area’ program in the commune, according to Dam Van Khanh, chairman of the local People’s Committee.

The program is Vietnam’s national initiative to give a facelift to various facets in the country’s rural parts, like education, economy, health care, infrastructure and community life.

Khanh said the commune authorities did not initially include a building and stadium but they later had to put the constructions on the list in mid-2015, when the higher-level government found that the area did not have any ‘cultural house.’

“The district government required us to build the structures in order to meet the new rural area criteria,” Khanh said.

The stadium and mixed-use building, each now half-completed, were estimated to cost around VND14 billion ($602,000), but only one-fifth of the sum, funneled from the state budget, has so far been paid to the contractor.

The availability of the rest remains to be seen.

Over the next several years the district administration has to provide funding for ‘new rural area’ projections in the neighboring communes while the Lam Dong commune authorities have failed to obtain money from other sources, chairman Khanh said.

“We’re really worried that if the structures are neglected for a long time, there will be cost overruns and damage. But we haven’t found any solution yet,” the official said.

Nguyen Ngoc Huong, chairman of the People’s Committee in Thuy Nguyen District, where the building is located, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the local government is trying to arrange funding for the two structures.

The contractor will be required to complete their remaining minor parts to prevent damage, he added.

Weeds grow inside the building, seen in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Weeds grow inside the building, seen in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Weeds grow around the building, seen in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Weeds grow around the building, seen in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Bricks lie on the floor of the building, in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Bricks lie on the floor of the building, in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Creation of the building and stadium may be a regrettable decision.

Residents in Lam Dong Commune were in the dark about the construction while they were not canvassed for their views, said Dam Van Hai, head of the local veteran association.

The community here did not need any new mixed-used ‘cultural house’ as they would require additional expenses for care and equipment, Hai underlined.

Meanwhile buildings of a similar function already exist in the local villages, he said.

“It may be much better if the money for the new cultural house goes to upgrading the irrigation system instead,” he added.

An incomplete mixed-use building stands in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
An incomplete mixed-use building stands in rural Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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Thai Xuan / Tuoi Tre News

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