Shimla water crisis: Govt schools shut; MC claims improvement in situation

On Saturday evening, directorate of education issued a notification declaring vacations in government schools for five days.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2018 20:23 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
water crisis,shimla water crisis,water shortage
No protests were witnessed in Shimla town on Sunday and civic body claimed that water supply which was 28 MLD (million litres a day) on Saturday rose to 37 MLD on Sunday. (Deepak Sansta/HT )

Even as the Shimla municipal corporation claimed improvement in the water supply situation, the department of education has ordered closure of government schools in the capital town in the wake of impending tourist rush.

On Saturday evening, directorate of education issued a notification declaring vacations in government schools for five days. The notification mentioned that all the government schools will be closed from June 4 till June 8 due to the ongoing water scarcity in town.

However, the department attributed tourist season and vacations in private schools as one of the main reasons for holidays in schools.

“Private schools in Shimla have one-week summer vacations and hence, we decided to close schools for five days,” said Amardev, director, elementary education.

Water scarcity, prevailing in the town for last 13 days, has adversely impacted the tourism industry. “The visitors who had been holidaying in Shimla have cut short their visits and preferred other tourist destination in the state. However, tourist inflow in town increased marginally in the last two days. Hotel occupancy has now increased about 60%,” said Harman Kukreja, president, Shimla Hotel and Restaurant Association.

Hoteliers, on Saturday evening, called on additional chief secretary tourism Ram Subagh Singh and apprised him about the decline in tourism. “We have asked the state government to take measures to restore Shimla’s image that has been tarnished due to water scarcity in last couple of days,” said Kukreja, adding that there was enough water availability in the hotels. There are 253 hotels in Shimla and 182 home stay in its vicinity.

No protest in town

Meanwhile, no protests were witnessed in Shimla town on Sunday and civic body claimed that water supply which was 28 MLD (million litres a day) on Saturday rose to rose to 37 MLD on Sunday.

Army, police pitch in

Indian Army tankers supplied water to residents on the main Mall Road and Lower Bazaar localities. “Shimla has been facing an ever-increasing water shortage which has resulted in unprecedented suffering to the local citizens this year especially in the heat of summers and peak tourist season,” said Army spokesman here on Sunday.

“State government and the district administration along with the municipal corporation have been putting tremendous efforts to alleviate the shortage by hiring extra water tankers. As the situation reached an alarming level, the Indian Army has also offered to help,” he said.

Resorting to philanthropy, the police on Sunday distributed packaged water bottles to the commuters in different areas under purview of five different police stations in Chotta Shimla , Dhalli, Mall Road, Boileauganj and New Shimla.

Congress demands dissolution of MC

The legal cell of the Congress submitted a memorandum to governor Acharya Devvrat demanding dissolution of Shimla municipal corporation.

In the memorandum, legal cell claimed that water scarcity in the town has led to an emergency like situation. “Water is life. It is the duty of Shimla MC to ensure drinking water supply,” said memorandum, alleging that corporation has failed to perform its duties.

The memorandum also referred to the intervention of Himachal Pradesh high court that took suo mottu notice of water situation and directed the chief secretary to file an affidavit in the court. It further mentioned about the court directions that the MC councillors shall not indulge in self choice distribution of water tankers and will assist in maintaining water distribution to all.

The Congress alleged that the BJP councillors are discriminating the areas and were supplying water in the areas of their choice.

First Published: Jun 03, 2018 19:14 IST