Construction starts of Thai temple in Fredrika

Sweden’s largest Buddhist temple will be inaugurated 4 June 2005.
The temple itself can accommodate 300 people and a five meter tall statue of Lord Buddha will be placed on a 20 meter high hill in front of the temple.
     A conference hall which can gather 700 to 800 people is built next to the temple and adjacent to the hall is a parking lot for some 450 vehicles constructed.
     The Buddhist association Buddharama in Stockholm has initiated the project which occupies some 2300 square metres of land.
     No price tag for the project, which reportedly is funded by the association, has been made public.
     Åsele municipality welcomes the temple project as it will draw attention to the region. This is also a popular spot for seasonal workers from Thailand who pick berries during the Swedish summer.
     Åsele´s municipality local government head, Mr Bert-Rune Dahlberg, has several times committed himself to the project in interviews with local newspapers.
     Next year’s inauguration will draw a celebrity crowd, writes Västerbottens Folkblad.
     “Then the Thai government, the King and big monks from the US and Australia will participate. I have been assigned to invite our royal couple, the county governor and other prominent guests,” says Mr Dahlberg to the newspaper.
     That is quite a gathering, unprecedented in modern Swedish-Thai history.
     This newspaper statement and other pieces of information about the project ScandAsia has obtained prompted us to ask Mr Dahlberg to elaborate on the following issues:
     – the date of inauguration festivities and the seniority of the alleged VIP guests
     – the municipality’s Thai partners in the preparations of the event
     – how the municipality supports the project
     – a municipality government meeting protocol from 19 April 2004 stating that he and the municipality’s heads of culture and leisure have been invited to a study trip in Thailand and the decision by the municipality government to facilitate that trip.
     The questions were sent and received 30 August and a second email on this matter was sent and opened on 1 September.
     So far no reply or feedback – either by email, phone or fax – on our questions but we hope to eventually shed more light on how this side of the project develops.

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