McLeod Ganj finally gets attention from local authorities

The cleaning squad of the Municipal Corporation Dharamshala scooping out debris from a drainage in McLeod Ganj, India, on 27 November 2018.

The cleaning squad of the Municipal Corporation Dharamshala scooping out debris from a drainage in McLeod Ganj, India, on 27 November 2018.
Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal

By Lobsang Wangyal

McLEOD GANJ, India, 27 November 2018

Local authorities are at last taking the initiative to clean up McLeod Ganj. For the last two days Surindar Shukla, the Sanitation Supervisor of Municipal Corporation Dharamshala, has been overseeing the clearing of all the blocked drainage in the area.

Speaking to Tibet Sun, Shukla said that there are proposals to improve the infrastructure in McLeod Ganj. The Municipal Corporation will make some decisions on building better garbage collection and recycling systems.

“We may implement door-to-door garbage collection in the New Year,” Shukla said.

In the plans are a bio-degradable composting site in McLeod Ganj, with plastic waste to be recycled at a site in Dharamshala.

Asked about the perennial overflowing garbage container in front of Gu Chu Sum on Jogiwara Road, Shukla said that they know of the problem. But they were unable to get land nearby to make an underground dumping site. “The piece of land that we suggested comes under the Department of Home of the Central Tibetan Administration, and the Tibetan Settlement Office wouldn’t let us use it.”

“We also tried to get sites at two other locations, but the locals resisted,” he added.

Shukla said there is also the manpower problem. “I am supervising the sanitation of the entire Dharamshala area,” he said — a large area, from Naddi to Sidhbari, and up to Sakoh village on the East.

Dharamshala is situated at 1,457 m (4,780 ft) above sea level, and covers 27 km2 (10.66 sq mi), with a population of about 55,000. McLeod Ganj is one of the suburbs of the municipality. It was chosen to become a “Smart City” under the Government of India’s scheme to develop 100 Smart Cities in India.

In the foothills of the Himalaya, McLeod Ganj, once a quiet and remote village, became a global tourist destination after Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his administration, now called the Central Tibetan Administration, made it their home in exile.

McLeod Ganj in the last few years has become a favourite spot for day trippers from neighbouring states such as Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Jammu and Kashmir.

In order to ease the traffic a new ropeway is being built from Dharamshala to Temple Road.

The shops and buildings in the middle lane running from the main square may have to be demolished, except for the Buddhist stupa with the prayer wheels. “The law is that buildings should be three metres away from the drainage. But who is following the law?” Shukla quipped.

“There is the problem of encroachment by the locals. Unless the local people cooperate we cannot turn McLeod Ganj into the nice place they can imagine to live in.”

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