Shimla, the popular tourist destination and the capital of Himachal Pradesh, along with half a dozen districts is undergoing a water crisis for the past week. The deficient rains during the winter season are said to be the cause of this water shortage. Although many big and small rivers flow through the state, the lack of planning at the state and municipal level is clearly visible.
As reported by The Hindu, BJP-controlled municipal corp is providing a regular water supply only to VVIP areas.
The residents of Shimla have threatened to put locks at the local Municipal Corporation(MC) as the water shortage reached its 7th day, The Indian Express reported. The city’s premier hub for tourists, the mall road saw queues of people waiting to fill water from the tankers.
The Tribune quoted a resident of Lakkar Bazaar saying, “There is no water in our kitchen or bathroom for the last five days. We have never experienced such a shortage in the city earlier.”
The High Court has intervened in the crisis and has ordered the Assistant Solicitor General to file an affidavit on the augmentation schemes pending with the Centre and steps being taken regarding the delay in implementation, The Hindu report stated. The Court has blamed poor management for the water scarcity year after year.
Meanwhile, in Sanjauli, The Indian Express mentioned, that residents were fetching water from the local cremation ground. Furthermore, Rohit Jamwal, Commissioner of the Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC), said to them, “It’s an unusual situation if you look at past three years data. The water availability during summer plumed to 29 or 30 MLDs during 2015, 2016 and 2017. This year we are between 22 MLD or 23 MLDs. That makes it tough to match the demand.”
The SMC has deployed eight tankers throughout the city. On an average, the city requires 45 million litres of water a day (MLD), which had plummeted to 29 MLD last week, and further fell to 21 MLD as of Friday, The Tribune report revealed. Moreover, Guma, having 20 MLD capacity, and Giri, having 20 MLD capacity, supplied just 4 MLD and 14 MLD, respectively, MC supply chart detailed. Churat supplied 1.25 MLD, Chair (0.32 MLD) and Koti- Brandi (0.35 MLD).
The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, The Indian Express reported, said, It’s because the feed sources/ rivers/ streams have gone dry. I have held two-three review meetings. The situation is being handled. Tankers are feeding the areas where the supply is not reaching. There is no cause of panic as we are alive to the situation.”
“As water is mostly utilised for cooking and drinking, using it for sanitation has become the last priority, while bathing has become a luxury for us,” said Atript Thakur, a student to The Tribune.
The crisis is intensifying by the minute. The hotel industry has taken a hit, with cancellations rising as high as 50%. However, reports suggest that hotels are getting preferential treatment from the municipal corp at the cost of local residents.
The Logical Indian urges all stakeholders – citizens, corporations and the government – to stop and think of solutions.