CHANDIGARH: The Queen of Hills, Shimla, has been facing an acute water crisis for the seventh consecutive day, bringing the number of visitors down by 50 per cent at the peak of thetourist season.
The famous Mall Road, is filled with residents standing in long water queues and the prestigious five-day Shimla Summer Festival, a major tourist attraction has been postponed indefinitely due to the crisis.
The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday suspended all construction activity for a week and also said no water would be supplied through tankers to VIPs including judges, ministers, MLAs, bureaucrats, police officers and commercial establishments.
However, this order would not include the residences and offices of the Governor and the Chief Minister, it added.
In a resumed hearing, a division bench headed by acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol directed that depending upon the prevalent situation, a committee will take an appropriate decision in this regard.
“An endeavour shall be made by the Chief Secretary to immediately approach the Army authorities for diverting the water used for watering the golf course at Annadale as also the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, which has got huge water storage tanks, to meet emergent situation within the municipal limits of Shimla,” said the Bench. It also banned washing of cars within the Municipal limits of Shimla for one week.
The state government has divided the city in three zones for equitable distribution of water and at least one tanker will be made available in each ward.
Fourteen water tankers and eight pick-up vehicles have been pressed into service by the Shimla Municipal Corporation. All these steps were taken after the midnight drama at the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur’s resident over water paucity that forced the CM to take immediate steps.
Interestingly the Mayor of Shimla Kusum Sadret is on an official tour of China. It is learnt that a 12,000 litre water tanker is now costing Rs 8,000. Earlier, it was Rs 2,500.
Shimla (Rural) MLA Vikramaditya Singh who is son of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh gave an ultimatum to the Shimla Municipal Corporation to end the ongoing water crisis in the next three days, failing which he will take it to the streets with hundreds of Congress activists and local Councillors.
This crisis is due to the fact that there is water shortage in two streams which supply the water to this hill station.