Shimla, Jan 30 (UNI) While the fresh spell of snow is drawing nature lovers to this picturesque hill town, the continuing 'dry taps'syndrome could well force them to beat a hasty retreat.
With mercury continuing to settle below freezing point for over ten days now, residents and hoteliers in most parts of the town are facing shortage of water due to water freezing in the supply pipelines.
Besides, the frozen natural water sources have added to the woes of hoteliers.
Most of the hotels, restaurants and guesthouses in the town fulfil their water needs by procuring water in tankers from nearby watercourses, but with chilly weather continuing, these water sources have frozen, resulting in augmenting the water paucity.
The hoteliers here are apprehensive that if the water shortage problem continues for long the tourism industry could be badly hit.
"Winters here is an 'off season' and it's only during the snowfall that tourists turn towards Shimla, but if water shortage continues to plague the town like this, tourists will certainly dodge.
Shimla Municipal Corporation should take immediate steps to solve this problem otherwise it will adversely effect tourism industry, rued a local hotelier.
"The water scarcity problem in Shimla dents the tourism business to around 25 to 30 percent in every tourist season, and if a permanent solution to the problem is not found immediately, tough days are ahead for the tourism industry here in near future," said a Tourism Corporation official, requesting anonymity.
Himachal Hotel Association, President Umesh Akre said, "The hotels located in the northern area of the town, that includes the Lakkar Bazar belt are facing severe water scarcity problem due to freezing pipes and therefore their business is bound to suffer.
However, the hotels in south and east areas of town are better placed and have comparatively less water linked problems to face." The shortage of drinking water seems to have become a perennial problem in this hill town. While in the summers it's the high water consumption and during the monsoon- the overloading of silt in water pumps that attributes to paucity of water, now it's the freezing temperature that is causing problem of water shortage.
Meanwhile, the Civic authorities have been maintaining that sustained efforts are being made to resolve the water shortage problem by revamping the frozen pipelines.
Concerned over the water problem, the Shimla Municipal authorities had started supplying water during the day since the supply lines remained frozen during the early hours, but even this method has not yielded desired results in many parts of the town.
UNI XC AS JN BK1932