McLeod Ganj to get world-class roads

By Lobsang Wangyal

MCLEOD GANJ, India, 13 September 2014

Finally, McLeod Ganj is getting world-class roads: The works for re-paving are under way.

Surindera Traders from nearby Yol is surfacing the roads with interlocking pavers, called Holland Stones. Each stone is an 8-cm-thick concrete block.

The first section of the project is the main street of McLeod Ganj, upper Temple Road, and will be completed in a week’s time, according to the father and son contractors Gagan Kumar Malhi and Surinder Kumar Malhi.

Holland stones are easy to set and easy to repair, and once completed the surface will last longer, son Kumar explained.

As well as laying the stones, the builders construct drainage, and provide a gap every 10 metres for water pipes.

The cost of the entire project will be eight to nine crore rupees (1.3 to 1.5 million USD).

“Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma has taken special interest in the project,” says Surinder Kumar.

However, the contractors complained that they need cooperation from the locals in not using the street where the work is going on.

“We have blocked the road but people are still climbing over the walls and getting in the way of our work. It’s only a matter of a few days, and it’s not difficult to walk around to the parallel road.”

The condition of the roads connecting to and within McLeod Ganj has been the biggest cause of complaints over the years.

The deplorable McLeod Ganj roads have even been reported in the Wall Street Journal.

During a meeting in McLeod Ganj recently, Major Vijay Singh Mankotia, vice-chairman of the Tourism Development Board of Himachal Pradesh, expressed how disappointed he was in the the miserable conditions of the roads.

He even told the Dalai Lama about it when they met about a month ago.

The Dalai Lama in return handed him a copy of The Wall Street Journal story, and Mankotia took the paper to show to chief minister of the state Virbhadra Singh.

“Look at this. I had nothing to reply to His Holiness!” Mankotia told the chief minister.

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