The charm of snow seems to be over in Shimla for the time being as majority areas in the state capital of Himachal Pradesh went without power supply for third consecutive day on Monday, since it snowed on last Friday evening.
The local administration, which has been boasting about its disaster management plans all through, has grossly failed in bringing the life back to normal and meeting the expectation on ground in the aftermath of snowfall (which Shimla is known for) after much lapse of time.
Shimla had received over two feet snow on January 6 and 7, which had derailed systems in the city, while uprooting dozens of trees, causing major damage to electricity lines and hitting the water supply in the city, which has been persistently irregular.
The mobile connectivity was snapped in many areas of Shimla for no power supply for three days, which left the people struggling to stay connected in this odd situation as many of them have already done away with landline phones.
The snowfall this time was a bit more than some previous years, but not abnormal.
However, even after three days, the local traffic has not been restored on the cart (main) road and taxis not re-started on sealed and restricted roads in Shimla.
This caused inconvenience to the tourists and locals, who had to go walking on the dicey snow filled lanes.
Though the roads leading to Indira Gandhi Medical College hospital and other health institutions in the city were cleared on Monday for those in medical emergency, the lanes in many localities were still buried under the snow.
There is lot of resentment among locals as they accuse the administration of facilitating the VIPs and other influential folks only, whether it is about clearing the lanes or restoration of power and water supply in different areas.
“It is for the first time that the administration has behaved so irresponsibly in snowfall in Shimla and has failed to ensure speedy restoration of basic amenities. What is more disturbing is that officers concerned are not listening to complaints of locals on phone,” said Karan Nanda, a local BJP youth.
The feeling is echoed by ordinary folks in the city as they find themselves helpless with none coming to their rescue.
“I called up an electricity complaint office catering to adjoining areas of Mall road. The irritated answer was, “What can I do? Ask the officers? We don’t have enough staff for restoration. Look at the number of trees, which have fallen.” Where do we go, if the response has to be like this?,”said an elderly citizen, RM Verma.
Deputy Commissioner, Rohan Chand Thakur said, “We have told the officials to work on war footing to restore the basic amenities in time bound manner. Efforts are being made to restore the power and water supply to all the areas of the city. We are monitoring the situation continuously.”
Not surprisingly, the tourists too feel harassed as hotels, shop keepers and food joints in Shimla have suddenly jacked up rates in this hour of crisis, with none to check them.