The Forest Department has evinced interest in restoring the Independence Struggle Golden Jubilee memorial in front of the Government Secretariat.

The memorial, commissioned by the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government, has been in a state of ruin for sometime now. Law Minister M. Vijayakumar, who recently inspected the memorial on the sprawling front lawn of the Secretariat, had found it littered with plastic waste and discarded liquor bottles. The monument had been in the centre of several controversies ever since it was erected using funds set apart for `Manaveeyam,' a community oriented cultural initiative of the previous LDF Government.

Several critics had questioned the `aesthetic' value of the memorial. Some United Democratic Front (UDF) politicians alleged corruption in its construction. The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) is inquiring into the allegations.

Officials said Forest Minister Benoy Viswom had told Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan that his ministry was willing to take over the monument. The plans for giving a face-lift to the monument are yet to be finalised. The department is also pondering whether to maintain the memorial in its original form or replace it with a new one, Government sources said.

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