In the middle of a serious water crisis gripping the hill town, a 65-year-old woman died Saturday after she was allegedly hit by a private water tanker used by Shimla Municipal Corporation (MC) to supply water to parched Shimla localities.
The victim, identified as Uma Keprate, wife of Nand Lal Keprate, was walking on the busy Mall Road along with her daughter-in-law and a grandchild when a speeding tanker hit her from the back.
The police said the woman, who suffered serious head and chest injuries, was rushed to IGMC Shimla, where the doctors declared her brought dead.
Shimla’s Additional SP Praveer Singh said the driver, Happy Singh, a resident of Chakkar (Shimla), was immediately taken into custody and taken to Deen Dyal Upadhaya Hospital as he reportedly suffered an epilepsy attack while he was on the wheels at the time of accident.
An eyewitness said when the driver was taken out of the vehicle, he was motionless.
The police have registered a case against the driver. The Municipal Corporation has pressed over two dozen water tankers, many of these hired from private owners, to supply water to the parched areas where piped water supply has not been made available for several days.
Today’s incident caused further anger among the residents, who blamed the district administration and Shimla MC for allowing a large number of tankers to be plied on the Mall road, which is a busy place and is banned for the vehicles, except for emergencies.
The town has been already witnessing protests over non-supply of the water despite Deputy Commissioner Amit Kashyap having imposed section 144 CrPC and the High Court having banned the protests.
In one such protest, more than 150 residents of Bruskfast and nearby localities, armed with sticks, surrounded a junior engineer of Municipal Corporation and other staff at Chhota Shimla, alleging that water had not been supplied to their areas for the past nine days. The MC staff had to run for life. There were massive demonstrations at Kasumapti Saturday morning.
Women also took to streets at Jeenu Colony and Vikas Nagar area to demand water supply, alleging that some people were still getting preferred treatments in water supply.
Youth Congress activists staged a dharna outside Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur’s residence on the Mall Road on Friday night.