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Shimla civic body proposes 10% hike in water charges

The MC drew widespread criticism from public and political quarters for mismanagement of water resources that worsened the water situation in Shimla few weeks ago.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2018 13:37 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Shimla,Shimla water crisis,Himachal Pradesh
The irrigation and public health department has proposed a new project for drawing additional water from Gumma pumping station in Shimla town. (HT File)

Three weeks after severe water crisis hit Himachal Pradesh capital Shimla, the municipal corporation (MC) proposed 10% hike in water charges on Wednesday.

The MC drew widespread criticism from public and political quarters for mismanagement of water resources that worsened the water situation in Shimla few weeks ago.

However, MC proposed an annual 10% hike in water charges, in accordance with the government notification of April 2015.

In 2017, MC fixed charges at Rs 13.20 per kilo liters of water for domestic connections and Rs 25.30 per kilolitres for commercial consumers using water up to 20,000 liters.

However, MC did not install metres for entire 31, 911 water connections.

Corporation had been charging flat rates for domestic connections and levies 30% sewerage cess. Irrigation and public health department supplies water to town while it is further distributed to consumers by MC.

“We have sent a proposal to the government for increasing water charges,” MC engineer Vijay Gupta said, adding that matter would be placed at monthly meeting of MC.

Shimla mayor Kusum Sadarte had fixed an emergency meeting to discuss the issue but it was cancelled on Tuesday evening following opposition from BJP councillors.

BJP councillors against hike in water charges

“It’s strange that after town faced water crisis, MC has proposed hike in water charges,” said a BJP councillor on account of anonymity.

After extreme water shortage in Shimla, water supply is still being rationed in the town. The water is being supplied on alternate days. Shimla received 37 Millions of Liters Per Day (MLD) of water on Wednesday against its requirement of 45 MLD.

The civic body has also planned to penalise consumers for wasting water. MC has made provision to impose a penalty of Rs 10,000 for wasting water.

Meanwhile, the irrigation and public health (IPH) department has proposed a new project for drawing additional water from Gumma pumping station in Shimla town.

Apart from it, the department is also working to construct checkdams in Gumma and Giri rivulets and another scheme to supply 10 MLD water to the town from Ashwani Khad scheme. Water supply from Ashwani Khadh scheme was suspended after contaminated water led to outbreak of jaundice in Shimla town leaving 35 dead.

Government now plans to purify water for drinking by using ultraviolet technique.

“New initiatives have been taken in wake of acute water shortage,” IPH secretary Devesh Kumar said.

Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur had directed IPH department to find a permanent solution to the problem.

IPH secretary Devesh Kumar said department is working on a project worth ₹80 crore to enhance water supply to the Gumma pumping station from Sutlej river.

He said to stop wastage of water in Gumma and Giri rivulets, checkdams will be constructed by spending Rs 50 crore.

First Published: Jun 21, 2018 13:37 IST