The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday ordered all construction activity to be stopped in Shimla for a week as the city struggles with shortage of water, PTI reported. The court also banned the washing of cars for a week within municipal limits.
The High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the city’s water crisis on Monday and had asked the municipal commissioner and the chief engineer of the city about the steps being taken to tackle the shortage.
In its order on Tuesday, the court ordered the municipal commissioner to not allow any tankers to supply water to individuals, including judges, ministers, bureaucrats and police officers. Only the residence and offices of the governor and the chief minister can get the luxury after the court order, The Tribune reported.
The court also directed the chief secretary to approach the Army for the diversion of water from the Annadale golf course. The government was also asked to contact the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, which has huge water storage tanks, to mitigate the crisis.
The city requires 45 million litres of water a day during the summer, when tourist activity is at its peak. However, the court observed that the municipal corporation was receiving only about 18.5 million litres of water a day currently.
Meanwhile, residents of Shimla have taken to social media to appeal to tourists to not visit the city. Taps have been going dry for the last nine days. Residents have been forced to buy water at exorbitant rates and smaller hotels in the tourist town have cancelled bookings due to the water shortage. Scanty rain and snowfall during the winter and drying up of perennial water sources are said to be the reason behind the crisis.