Government and cultural officials from the northern province of Bac Ninh began inspecting a historic relic being threatened by illegal sand dredging at a nearby river.
Officials from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the province cultural inspectors on Monday confirmed that the national relic of Mieu and Phan Dong Temples in Tam Da Commune, Yen Phong District, are endangered by illegal sand dredging on the nearby Nhu Nguyet River.
The practice needs to be stopped right away, the officials said.
Compared with a map established for the relic in 1988, the river has been expanded closer to the temples and is threatening the interior.
The ministry inspectors asked provincial officials to carry out regular inspections at the temples and conduct surveys to estimate the threat to the relic.
Nguyen Duong Bac, deputy director of Bac Ninh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the department will consult the province People's Committee about methods to stop the illegal sand dredging.
Department officials said previously that they knew nothing about the situation and had no responsibility.
Commune and district officials have also reacted weakly to the practice, although a Bac Ninh government decision in 2009 asked district governments to be in charge of stopping sand dredging in the area.
Mieu and Phan Dong Temples are parts of the relic of the defense line of the Nhu Nguyet River, which help Vietnam emerge victorious in the battle against China's Song Dynasty in the 11th century.
The temples were used by general Ly Thuong Kiet to assemble three million soldiers at that time.
Local janitors of the temples said the illegal dredging started in 2004 and became stronger from the middle of last year.