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Parched Shimla Asks Tourists to Stay Away, Court Says Don't Wash Cars

Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday ordered a halt on these activities for a week in the core areas of the parched state capital to save water.

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Updated:May 30, 2018, 10:49 AM IST
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Parched Shimla Asks Tourists to Stay Away, Court Says Don't Wash Cars
People stand in a queue to collect water from a tanker in Shimla as the city faces acute shortage of drinking water. (Photo: PTI)
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Shimla: With Shimla staring at an acute water shortage, residents here started appealing to tourists to stay away from the Himachal Pradesh capital and save water while the High Court asked all construction activities and car washing to be stopped for a week.

Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday ordered a halt on these activities for a week in the core areas of the parched state capital to save water.

The court, which on Monday decided to intervene in the town's water crisis, came out with stringent curbs as local residents posted keep-off-Shimla messages on social media.

“There is no water for us, please do not come here and select some other destination,” one of them said.

Social media messages that flooded the Internet on Tuesday have alarmed hoteliers in the hill town.

Some have even offered full refund of the advance payment to if they choose to cancel.

Some posts cautioned tourists, claiming that restaurants and dhabas were using the water from the city drains for cooking.

The population of Shimla Municipal Corporation area is about 1.72 lakh but it swells by between 90,000 and one lakh during the peak tourist season in summer.

The requirement of water increases to 45 million litres a day (MLD) during this season.

The government should issue an advisory to tourists asking them not to come to Shimla till the situation improves as it would cause further inconvenience to water-starved residents, 78-year-old Bharaiv Dutt wrote in his post.

The court ordered that no tankers will be allowed to supply water to individuals, particularly if they live in VIP areas. This includes judges, ministers, bureaucrats, police officers and commercial establishments, the court clarified.

The division bench consisting of Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel spared only the governor and the chief minister in its directions.

The Shimla district administration has postponed a major tourist attraction, International Shimla Summer Festival, scheduled from June 1 to 5.

A spokesman said the decision to postpone the festival was taken on humanitarian grounds as the local people are facing a water shortage.

Water Day

The court also asked Shimla authorities to approach the Army so that the water used for the golf course at Annandale can be diverted to tackle the shortage in the city.

The availability of water touched a new low of 18 to 27 MLD this season due to scanty rain and snowfall during the winters and drying up of the perennial water sources.

The Ashwani Khad water supply scheme was closed after an outbreak of jaundice due to contaminated water in 2015, adding to the problem.

The ambitious Koldam water supply scheme, envisaging the lifting of water from Sutlej river is still in the works after six years.

Currently, each zone of the town gets piped water only after a gap of several days.

(With inputs from PTI)

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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