Mess mounds bury McLeod Ganj

Garbage piling up at the side of Jogiwara Road in McLeod Ganj, India, on 27 August 2015.

Garbage piling up at the side of Jogiwara Road in McLeod Ganj, India, on 27 August 2015. Lobsang Wangyal

By S Gopal Puri

DHARAMSHALA, India, 21 August 2015

The whole of hill destination McLeod Ganj has become a big stinking garbage dump with cleaning contract for the town coming under scanner of vigilance authorities. Municipal council of the area had awarded the cleaning contract for more than Rs 2 lakh per month, while same work was being done earlier for Rs 90,000 by some Tibetan groups. The vigilance department has also marked an explanation letter to the concerned authorities in this regard on behalf of some complaints.

Since the matter reached vigilance department, the authorities have now stopped the execution of the contract and not awarded the work to any contractor. Under the previous arrangement, the cleaning was done by some Tibetan groups but the agreement was cancelled after a tussle between Tibetan officials and municipal authorities, said sources.

With no agency picking up the piles of garbage as of now, every corner of the town’s streets has a huge mound of mess. Foreign nationals, domestic tourists and people arriving here on spiritual quest are peeved [disgusted] over the stinking mess in the scenic hill destination.

“We have called meetings after the controversies surrounded the contract. It was the decision of all the elected members to award the work to a local contractor and not to the Tibetan groups. However, after the recent developments the work has not been awarded to anyone and things are hanging in fire till the logical conclusion is reached,” said Chaman Lal, executing officer at municipal council.

Vigilance officials said that they had received complaints through anonymous letters over which explanations were sought from concerned authorities. “We have written to the municipal officials but are yet to receive their reply,” said Vimal Gupta, SP Vigilance.

The stinking mess is also taking a toll on the environment of the hill town as the heaps are piling up at the roots of deodar trees. Dharamkot village near McLeod Ganj, which is abuzz with Israeli tourists these days, is the worst sufferer. Tourists here said that squalor has spoiled their trip.

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