The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday pulled up Shimla Municipal Corporation (MC) and its top officials for failing to carry out its orders to disconnect water supply to hotels who had not cleared their dues. It has now summoned the MC Commissioner for a personal appearance in the court on Friday at 9.30 am.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel, which is monitoring the administration’s response to water crisis in Shimla, also expressed its displeasure over senior Municipal Corporation (MC) officials not being present in the court.
The court has also summoned Secretary, Irrigation and Public Health, to know details of availability of the water from all the sources in Shimla. The HC sought compliance on its orders to create a dedicated WhatsApp group to keep a close eye on zone-wise distribution of the water wherein the members of the group will be able to track the situation on a real-time basis. Advocate General Ashok Sharma informed that directions have been issued on getting feedback from all the nodal officers of the municipal wards.
During the hearing Amicus Curie K D Shreedhar pointed out that the system of water distribution, which has been created by the government for zone-wise supplies to different localities, was not working flawlessly. The water supplied to the tankers also had not been able to address the issue fully, he added.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who was at Chamba on Thursday, reviewed the water supply situation for Shimla with senior officers through video conferencing. He was informed that water supply through tankers had been ensured to hospitals, educational institutions and public toilets as per demand. Meanwhile, the town continued to witness protests for the third consecutive day. There was a “chakka jam” on the main Shimla-Parwanoo High Court at Kacchi Ghati with residents alleging non-availability of water for more than eight days. Locals sat on dharna on the road for nearly an hour disrupting traffic. State PCC president Sukhwinder Sukhu also threatened to start agitation in the town if the supply did not normalise.
Deputy Commissioner Amit Kashyap, who went into action to check pilferage of water, detected an illegal connection having been given to a leading builder and senior leader of the BJP. “I have referred the case for action to Commissioner, MC,” the DC said.
The Corporation has also sought help from police to provide protection to its field staff, who had been facing public anger in the town. Police has already deployed men to travel along with water tankers.