Over 600 of the more than 5,000 relics in Hanoi have been seriously damaged and are in need of immediate restoration work, but funds have not been made available in the municipal budget.

The relics have suffered from the passage of time and the influence of both nature and people.

The Mot Cot (One Pillar) pagoda was built nearly 1,000 years ago and has been restored several times. However, some parts are still damaged and its roof leaks during heavy rains.

The People's Committee of Ba Dinh district, where the pagoda is located, and relevant agencies have discussed plans to restore the pagoda, but they have not been implemented.

The Dau pagoda in Thuong Tin district's Nguyen Trai commune also has broken tiling and is in danger of collapsing, while the main gate is used by local residents for trading purposes.

On average, each relic needed about 10 billion VND (476,190 USD) for restoration work, so the city would need a total of 6 trillion VND (285.7 million USD), according to statistics from the municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Director of the department To Van Dong said that the money simply wasn't available from the municipal budget.

If the city spent hundreds of billions of dong per year on restoration relics, it would still take dozens of years to complete the work, he said.

Regulations govern that the State budget should pay for 60 percent of the work, while the remaining funds would come from other sources. Districts authorities had also called for social funding, but with such a large number of relics, they would still take a long time to repair, said Dong.

"Restoring the city's relics needs co-corporation from the whole of society," he said.

The first thing that needed to be done was improving community awareness about protecting the relics, and improving management at these historic sites.

The city should use the funds it has to fix those in need of critical repair work to stop them from collapsing.

"The relics' level of disrepair should be classified so we can prioritise repair work," said Dong.

Head of the Hanoi Relics Management Board Nguyen Doan Tuan said that due to the high number of relics in the city, it would be impossible to restore them all at the same time.

Priority should be given to those in urgent need of repair, he stressed.

Dong added that during 2013-15, the city would upgrade nearly 70 relics using 300 billion VND (14.2 million USD) from the municipal budget and VND40 billion VND (1.9 million) from the State budget.

The department would work with city authorities to formulate a detailed plan to attract funds for repair work at the remaining sites, he said.-VNA