Drought-hit Indian hill town turns visitors away

Shimla residents gathering to collect water in buckets from a water tanker yesterday. They are getting water once a week, compared with up to several times a day before the drought.
Shimla residents gathering to collect water in buckets from a water tanker yesterday. They are getting water once a week, compared with up to several times a day before the drought.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Shimla residents struggling to get by amid severe water crisis due to lack of rain, snow

The hill town of Shimla, a popular tourist destination in India for those trying to get away from the heat in the plains, is in the midst of a water crisis so severe that locals are asking tourists to stay away.

Mr Gopal Aggarwal, a 73-year-old hotelier who runs Gulmarg Residency, has been contacting guests asking them to chose a different destination. His 110-room hotel, which was booked out, now lies empty and he has sent half of his staff on holiday. June is peak tourist season in Shimla, the summer capital of India during British rule.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2018, with the headline 'Drought-hit Indian hill town turns visitors away'. Print Edition | Subscribe