Heavy rain lashes Shimla

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Shimla, June 16 : The early arrival of monsoon has turned out to be a dampener for tourism in Shimla.

Early showers preceded the monsoon, which hit the area one week ahead of schedule.

Weather officials said the region has been witnessing heavy rain.

"The monsoon has come in early this time. The monsoon generally comes by June 20, but this time it has hit on June 13 in Himachal Pradesh. Before the arrival of monsoon, there were continuous monsoon showers as a result it has been witnessing excessive rainfall. It is predicted that heavy rainfall is likely to occur in one to two areas," said Manmohan Singh, director, department of meteorology, Himachal Pradesh.

Coupled with the dwindling tourist arrivals, the heavy rain has hit the economy hard.

"We have never witnessed before such heavy rainfall in this season. It is raining everyday and as a result we are facing number of problems. It is causing problems for us to reach the market, offices and schools. Even, tourists who are visiting the region are forced to stay inside hotels," said Satyam, a shopkeeper.

Northern part of India has been witnessing a comparatively cool summer this year.

Intermittent rain has dipped mercury in most of the plains, leading to less tourist arrivals in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh including Shimla.

Timely monsoon is vital to the health of the country's' trillion-dollar economy as it determines farm output and subsequent rural demand for a range of products.

However, it has badly hit revenues of Himachal Pradesh's economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism. More than three million domestic and foreign tourists visit the state annually.

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