Long queues for water on the Mall Road in Shimla
Shimla: Shimla is facing an acute water crisis. Residents are complaining of taps going dry for the seventh consecutive day. The Mall Road frequented by tourists is seeing long queues for water since daybreak. The situation has reached a point where the Himachal Pradesh High Court took immediate notice of the matter and stepped in. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said he held a couple of review meetings and his government is tackling the situation. Local residents of Shimla have been active on Twitter, asking tourists to stay away. Hoteliers in Shimla have admitted there have been cancellations at the peak of the tourist season.
Here is your 10 point guide to the water crisis in Shimla:
- Residents of Shimla say there is no water supply from the municipality for the seventh day. People have been queuing up for water from tankers
- Locals protested, raised slogans late last night in front of the Chief Minister's residence. Clashes with police have also been reported. Protesting residents also blocked the Shimla-Kalka road
- Himachal Pradesh High Court hauled up the municipal commissioner and the chief engineer and questioned what steps are being taken to immediately tackle the crisis
- Fourteen water tankers and eight pick-up vehicles have been pressed into service by the Shimla Municipal Corporation.
- A bench headed by acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel said, "The problem of water scarcity within Shimla town takes us to yet another issue of whether any new construction should be allowed to come up within the municipal limits of Shimla town or not."
- Advocate General Ashok Sharma informed the high court that the Chief Minister and his officers are trying to immediately address the problem
- Areas facing the worst crisis are Kasumpati, Chhota Shimla, Vikasnagar, Patyog, Kangna Dhar, New Shimla and Panthaghati
- The state government has divided the city in three zones for equitable distribution of water. The government said at least one tanker will be made available in each ward of Shimla
- Shimla's daily requirement is around 42 MLD (million litres/day) water but supply fell to 22 MLD
- Angry residents allege water is being diverted mostly to the VIP areas and big hotels