Shimla, May 28: People in Shimla, once a village that served as the summer capital of British India between 1864 and 1939, are craving for a glass of water, while their woes and anger are pouring on micro-blogging platforms, literally! A majority of localities are facing a severe water supply crisis, getting potable water only once a week.
The reason: All water channels in Shimla and its suburbs, which are normally quenching the thirst of the people, have dried up this summer owing to less snowfall in the past winter and less rains thereafter. City residents say the problem has aggravated ever since the mercury shot up and the sweeping heat wave across north India led to an influx of tourists to this popular destination to seek refuge in its cooler climes and they drained out the water. He said he remembered that there were a number of natural water resources in Shimla about four decades ago but they dried up due to unplanned development and haphazard construction.
Echoing Sharma’s assertions, veteran journalist Rakesh Lohumi said “all those who raised illegal buildings, politicians have been repeatedly bringing policies to regularise them, burdening the hills way beyond the carrying capacity, are responsible for the water crisis.” He said the British ensured full protection of water sources by severely restricting human activity in the catchment areas and maintaining a healthy forest cover. They preserved the green cover over the Shimla ranges so well that perennial springs spouted from the foot of almost every hill. Most of them have been buried under multi-storied structures or dried up over the past three decades, Lohumi added. Even tourists are feeling the pinch of water shortage. He said this was the first tourist place where a visitor is charged money for water. (IANS)