Shimla coping with heavy traffic, water scarcity
At a time when there is heavy tourist influx, situation in the capital town is almost chaotic — traffic snarls have become order of the day, residents are facing water shortage and strike by sanitation workers has hit the garbage disposal.
The tourist footfall in Shimla this time is all the more because of taxi operators’ strike in Manali. Almost all the hotels in the town are full to the capacity. Himachal has 2,400 registered hotels and guesthouses with a total bed capacity of 65,000.
There are over 500 hotels and guesthouses in Shimla alone and nearly 4,000 tourist vehicles enter the town daily.
The increase in the number of tourists has slowed down the traffic movement on the congested roads of the town. Not only the number of four-wheelers has gone up, but the presence of tourist buses has added to the congestion. “With rise in temperature in plains, tourists are coming to Himachal especially to Shimla. We have drawn a special plan to manage tourist vehicles,” Shimla traffic deputy superintendent of police Dinesh Sharma said.
Water level can further deplete at the source leading to big crisis as the demand is likely to rise with increasing tourist influx and mercury. From June 1, international summer festival is starting and administration is anticipating a sharp surge in tourist inflow.
Municipal engineer Vijay Gupta said less water at the source at Ashwani Khad led to water shortage in Chhota Shimla area. “Due to increase in tourist influx, demand of water has gone up to 42-43 million litre per day (MLD) while the supply is around 38-39 MLD,” Gupta said. “We are rationing the water supply in the town,” he said.
MC councillor from Jakhu ward, Manoj Kuthiala, said sanitation had worsened in the town. “It will not only create inconvenience to the people but also earn a bad name to the capital town,” he said.
President Shimla Hoteliers and Restaurateurs’ Association Harman Kukreja said there was about 80% occupancy in hotels in Shimla. “We do arrange water tankers in need and strike of sanitation workers will badly affect the waste disposal system of town in the coming days,” he said.
Shimla deputy mayor Tikender Singh Panwar said sanitation worker would call off the strike soon and there would be no insanitation problem. “If they will not call off strike, we will hire supervisors and drivers to dispose of the waste,” he said.
Deepak Kesarkar, an MLA who represents Sawantwadi, said that after his return from Mumbai on Thursday night, the newly sworn-in chief minister asked the MLAs to behave in a “more mature fashion”.
In October 2019, the Bombay high court (HC) quashed a clutch of petition by environmentalists that sought to declare a 33-acre plot in the city’s green lung as a legal forest under the Indian Forest Act (1927). This patch was demarcated in 2013 to construct a car shed for the upcoming Metro 3 line.
If there is something that stands out in the rebellion led by Eknath Shinde and his predecessors like Chhagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray, it is the way in which the Shiv Sena leadership and even the ordinary Shiv Sainik responded to the crisis. If in the past the grassroots workers rallied around Balasaheb Thackeray, Sena leaders today admit to a virtual paralysis that has set in the party following the mass desertions led by Eknath Shinde.
Terming the notice as a “love letter”, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said it showed the qualitative difference with which central agencies act towards leaders of the opposition and those in the government.
Karnataka home minister Araga Janendra said Friday he had only just received information about an alleged assault on two women in Anekal, a town in Bengaluru district. The sisters were allegedly stripped and assaulted at their home for failing to pay a debt. Multiple media reports have said the police refused to file a complaint for two days and only did so after videos of the assault were widely shared online.