Talk Series Rigzin Spalgon

Activity: Talk Series on Walkability in Leh
Date: June 25, 2018
Location: Moravian Mission School Auditorium Hall
Participants: 62

Speaker: Rigzin Spalgon, Administrator, Municipal Committee Leh

  1. Objective: To spread awareness about the benefits of walking, promoting pedestrianisation in Leh town and putting a check on the increasing traffic in Leh
  2. Summary Agenda: Time Activity PiC 4:30 PM Welcome speech Dr Nordan Otzer 4:45 PM Song performance Faisal & Nurboo 4:55 PM Talk by the guest Rigzin Spalgon 5:20 PM Song Performance Faisal & Nurboo 5:25 PM Question & Answer session 6:00 PM Song performance Faisal and Nurboo 6:05 PM Vote of thanks Tenzin Motup
  3. Summary of Results:
     There is need to take Leh to its former glory, encourage walking among the locals
     In mid-90’s Leh was quiet and the water flowing in streams were drinkable, but it all changed with influx of tourism
     Lots of development work and changes in last one decade. Now more than 250,000 tourists visit Leh every year
     We become different persons when we are in the driver’s seat. We feel we should get the preference over others
     Leh is not a planned city and most of the lands are owned by individuals
     The road was sufficient for pedestrians a decade back a there were only few hundred cars at that time. But now, there are more than 20,000 registered cars in Leh, which can touch 30,000 if we include the second hand cars
     Due to increase in cars on the road, road rage is understandable
     Therefore, we need to check our plan/strategy
     The footpaths in Leh are designed in such a way that it discourages pedestrians from walking. Even young people are not walking

 Nowadays nobody want to walk and wants everything to be meant for cars
 Need to have model of how a city should be; need design which will give preference to pedestrians
 Most of the parents come to drop their kids at school instead of sending them alone. It shows something is wrong
 There should be change in approach. Make roads pedestrianized. The moment pedestrians get priority, the price of the property shoots up
 Just because we don’t walk, people have lifestyle and health issues. But the biggest benefit of walking is on the environment
 The administration is working on making Changspa a one-way street. It will be a pedestrian-friendly road. Slowly, the administration will bring other roads into purview and replicate the design
 Our effort is to encourage people to walk; even those who have small tasks like buying groceries will walk
 We are just remodelling, not changing everything on the Changspa Road
 We earn livelihood from the tourists and if we want to keep them happy then it is the only way
 Who will come to Leh if the tourists have to spend majority of their time in traffic? We have to make Leh a liveable city and that depends how much space we give to the pedestrians
 If we want to sustain our economy and environment then we must work collectively to make Leh beautiful
 Participation of people very important. Without their support this dream will not come true
 People should not just criticize but also come up with solutions to overcome these challenges