- Municipal Corporation is distributing water under police protection
- Shimla facing acute drinking water crisis
- Tourism industry in Shimla has been massively hit due to water crisis
Over 70 police personnel have been specifically deployed to deal with the situation in the water-deprived hill-station.
A mineral water wholesale trader, Jasvir Singh told ANI that the demand for bottled water has increased by 50 to 60 per cent due to water scarcity in Shimla.
"Usually I supply 400 packs of water bottles but now the demand has increased to 700 plus for retailers," he said.
The tourism industry in Himachal Pradesh's Shimla has also been massively hit as tourists are cancelling their visits to the hill-station.
The local hoteliers and others related to the tourism industry are worried as social media is flooded with news about the water crisis, preventing the inflow of tourists into the state.
On Wednesday, Himachal Pradesh High Court directed the Shimla Municipal Corporation not to distribute water through tankers.
The court has also directed the state government and the Shimla Municipal Corporation to not allow any water supply for building construction and car washing.
The court has taken a suo moto cognizance in the matter due to extreme water scarcity in the town and has given order taking the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which is pending with the high court for past two years.
The Shimla administration has also postponed a major tourist attraction, International Shimla Summer Festival, scheduled from June 1 to 5 due to the scarcity of water in the town.
This comes after Centre sought a report from Himachal Pradesh government. The high court, which on Tuesday ordered stringent water-saving measures, has now asked Shimla Municipal Corporation to disconnect water supply to hotels which do not pay their pending water charges within two days.
Himachal Chief Secretary Vineet Chawdhry said the report sought by Union Water Resources Secretary has been sent. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur also reviewed the water situation at a high-level meeting.
Protests over the crisis continued in the city with Congress activists blocking some roads. Local residents also expressed their anger on social media in the last few days, with some asking tourists to stay away from the hill town.
The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday ordered a halt to construction activity and washing cars in the core areas of the city for the next few days. It also directed that no water tankers will be sent to individuals, even if they are ministers, bureaucrats or judges. Only the governor and the chief minister were exempted from the order.
Shimla authorities also deployed 27 tankers to distribute 2.25 lakh litres of water at 63 points in the city. The total availability of water from all sources in Shimla now is 21.75 million litres per day against a requirement of 32-35 MLD.
Irrigation and Public Health Minister Mohinder Singh said 14 MLD of water would be lifted from Gumma pumping station instead of 11 MLD at present. Scanty rains and less snowfall this year have led to the water crisis, officials said.
(With Inputs From PTI, ANI)