Shimla, May 4: The Himachal Pradesh High Court today directed the Commissioner of Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) to file its response?regarding scarcity of water in the state capital. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Chauhan passed the order on a petition taken up?suo motu?by the Court as Public Interest Litigation regarding rising jaundice cases.

The Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Department in his reply submitted that at the time of closure of Lift Water Supply Scheme Ashwani Khud, the IPH had been supplying 33-35 MLD bulk water to the Municipal Corporation. As per 2011 census, the population of Shimla town was 1,69,578 in 2011 census and the present population is about 1,82,469 while the prescribed rate of water supply was 135 litre per person as per urban water supply norms and the total requirement of Shimla is about 32 MLD (including demand for permanent population, floating population and institutions). Also Read: Forest fires: NGT issues show cause notices to Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh

He further submitted that at present the department is supplying about 32 to 35 MLD of water per day to Shimla Municipal Corporation and it is divided by the requirement of 135 LPCD the total population which can be fed by this water works out to 2,48,148. Therefore, the requirement for 42-45 MLD water per day being projected by the MC is highly exaggerated, he said and alleged that the SMC is trying to cover up the leakages and unequal distribution by supplying more water than judiciously required.

SMC is not paying the bill of the water supplied by IPH department for many years and Rs 224 crore is due from the SMC since 2011, he said.
He further submitted that as per mandate SMC is required to supply water within the municipal area while IPH is to provide water in rural areas of Shimla town. The High Court posted the matter for May 5.