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We can’t even clean well the places that attract most tourists

  • By chagy5
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  • 2024-04-26
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We can’t even clean well the places that attract most tourists

-Dear Mayor of Ulaanbaatar City Kh.Nyambaatar, please improve the area around Gandantegchinlen Monastery - 

 

The Mayor of Ulaanbaatar City, Kh.Nyambaatar is invited to the Gandantegchinlen Monastery. It is not far from the city center and is about 10 minutes away from the “Khangardi” Palace, where these chiefs live, and familiarize yourself with the current situation. Most recently, construction works were done in places, such as Urt Tsagaan Service Center and S’Outlets. Such works should be done in areas around Gandantegchinlen Monastery. We call the plateau where Gandantegchinlen Monastery is located as Gandan hilltop. The hilltop is praised as a place of cultural heritage, but the city administration does not take any action, and the residents of the area do not care much about the development or the appearance of the hilltop. In order to change this situation, the “firm hand” and decisive measures of the capital’s governor are missing. The tourist season is about to start.

 

WORK THAT REQUIRES FORCE

 

As soon as Kh.Nyambaatar became the governor of the capital city, he demolished the Urt Tsagaan building “in the blink of an eye”. He is also making the S’Outlets store pulled down due to the fact that it obstructed the structure of the flood prevention system. Also, 100 percent of the National Sport Stadium of Mongolia has gone under the control of the capital city now. Moreover, he visited the Baganuur District and said that the “Kherlen” shopping center located in the district will be owned by the capital. It is said that 34 percent of the shopping center is owned by the capital and the rest by the private sector. Since, the private sector does not pay dividends to the capital city, it will be returned to the local property. There is also criticism going around that Kh.Nyambaatar may demolish the Clinical Center for Traditional Medicine Science and Liver Research, which is the only one in the country. We want the mayor to sort out the problems around the area of Gandan hilltop just like the solution of those buildings and houses as quickly as possible. Especially at the beginning of the tourist season and during the “Years to Visit Mongolia” time period, how about fixing and “polishing” the Gandan hilltop as it is much needed and urgent. In this way, the mayor of the capital will contribute to the protection of the religious and cultural heritage, which has been talked about by the previous mayors and governors of Ulaanbaatar City, but failed to be done.

 

200 YEARS OF HISTORY AND POLLUTION

 

The most denigrating area of ​​Gandantegchinlen Monastery is definitely the ger districts. Because those districts are said to be one of the most polluted areas of the capital. The history of Gandan hilltop, which is known as one of the first settlement areas of Ulaanbaatar City, exceeds 200 years. It means that soil pollution and excreta of the residents of that area have been accumulated there throughout this time period. That’s why pollution and garbage are the pressing issues there. When the snow melts, the street stinks and people slip on the puddles and muds. Doesn’t this phenomena show how careless and inattentive Mongolians are to their cultural heritage? In fact, the monks of the monastery recently cleaned the surrounding area. However, this is only a one-time thing. Such a “celebratory” event happens only once a year. Last year, at the beginning of the tourist season, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism sent an official letter to the administration of Gandantegchinlen Monastery to improve the appearance of the surrounding area and keep it clean. But such an official letter is no longer valid or no longer a help. It is crucial to make effective decisions and provide consistent service. 

 

 90% OF ALL TOURISTS VISIT GANDANTEGCHINLEN MONASTERY

 

The Government of Mongolia has declared 2023-2025 as the “Years to Visit Mongolia”. With the help of this declaration, citizens from 34 countries are now able to visit Mongolia visa-free until the end of 2025. As for this year, the brand word “Go Mongolia” is being used to appeal to travelers with the country’s rich history and culture. However, the situation around Gandan hilltop, which is a valuable part of the capital city’s history and culture, is in conflict with the government’s policy. About 90 percent of the tourists who visit our country come and take a look at Gandantegchinlen Monastery, according to the public relations department of the monastery. They said, “We can’t count each and every tourist coming. However, when we get information from tour operators and professional organizations, the majority of the tourists travel every year, about 90 percent of them visit our monastery”. In fact, there is a standard for tourists visiting any country to visit their monastery, church or temple to get to know the culture and traditions of that country more deeply. Southeast Asian countries in particular attract more tourists for their traditional and religious temples and rituals. For tourists who come to our country, they also have the same aim visiting the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, to better understand and experience Mongolian culture and tradition. It is the main monastery of Mongolian Buddhism. Unfortunately, how many people who saw the monastery, especially the dirt surrounding it, returned disappointed and unsatisfied and felt that the central part of Mongolia’s capital is a place full of garbage and dirt?

 

FAMILIES IN GER DISTRICTS ARE NOT WILLING TO COOPERATE IN CITY RE-PLANNING

 

Areas surrounding the Gandantegchinlen Monastery belong to the 16th khoroo of Bayanzurkh District. According to B.Myagmarjav, the governor of the khoroo, about 70 percent of all households in the district or more than 1,100 families live in Gandan hilltop’s ger district. When B.Myagmarjav was asked whether the houses of those families are being re-planned and the works to erect streets and fields are being reorganized, he said, “The discussion about whether or not to re-plan the houses in our khoroo started in 2012. Since then, we have received a number of surveys from the citizens”. He then continued, “However, residents did not support the re-planning, but the decision was made to improve the environment by installing infrastructure or engineering networks. In accordance with this, the construction of infrastructure in the ger district has been launched. Work progress is now at 45 percent. We expect that the remaining works will be completed within this year”. 

 

 EXTENDED FOR ANOTHER FIVE YEARS

 

The work of infrastructure for the families of ger district was started in 2019. It means that it has been “in the progress” for the fifth year now. The total budget is 791 million MNT. 101.7 million MNT was included in the capital’s budget for this year under “Engineering infrastructure works of the ger district in Orkhon area of ​​the Gandantegchinlen Monastery”. Also, 300 million MNT was included in the budget of the Bayangol District, and a standard street will be built in the 16th khoroo of the district. Officials said that with the implementation of these, the ger district around the monastery will have a complete infrastructure. But we have not yet forgotten that it has been many years since they kept talking and procrastinating. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that the street will be completely organized even if the infrastructure is built. Unless the residents of the surrounding area change their attitude, it will not improve much. For example, it is said that about 45 percent of the households are refusing to connect to the infrastructure even though it is possible to do so. The main reason is that it would cost too much for the utilization. Therefore, in order to keep the Gandan hilltop as a tourist attraction in the future, there is a need to set certain standards for the families in that area and to organize them. Visitors should walk fearlessly through clean and safe streets, visit the monastery, get acquainted with its religion, historical and cultural monuments, and return satisfied.

 

TIME TO CHANGE THE AREA FOR REAL

 

To recall, the initiative to re-plan the Gandan hilltop and replace the land of families in the ger district with apartments was first proposed by the former Governor of the capital city, E.Bat-Uul in 2013. However, the citizens did not support it, and the area stayed the same. Later, former Mayor of Ulaanbaatar S.Batbold also tried to change the difficult situation around the monastery. In doing so, he came up with a solution to turn it into a tourist street and laid the foundation. However, it did not work, as well. The main reason is that the families in the area do not want to change and do not accept the reforms. The governors of the capital city have said that it is necessary to change and develop the area, and have made beautiful promises such as “Gandan hilltop will be turned into a tourist and cultural zone” and “Ulaanbaatar will be made into a special zone for the development of business”. Most recently, in 2021, the previous Mayor of Ulaanbaatar City, D.Sumiyabazar announced that “Gandantegchinlen Monastery will be developed as cultural tourism based on heritage”. Of course, we see that all this did not work. Now we don’t need fancy promises. But there is a need to decisively start the work that has been stuck for many years. Kh.Nyambaatar, you have the opportunity to put this into practice and “get points” from the citizens for real.


 

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