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Shimla: Endless traffic jams and water scarcity add to the woes of the residents and tourists

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Shimla: Shimla, that was once known as the Queen of Hills, is plagued by water scarcity, traffic chaos and haphazard construction. Driving in the city is nothing short of a nightmare and tests your patience. Pleasant weather, however, remains one of its prime attractions.

Umesh Ghrera, a journalist with a Chandigarh-based English daily, who was brought up in Shimla, described the problems of the hill destination, known for wooded deodars and Raj-style structures. Ghrera, who was holidaying with his family here, said the biggest issue in Shimla was the limited space for parking.

“You may be willing to shell out hundreds of rupees but may still not find parking space. It’s high time the government took some drastic steps to improve the situation. Or else Shimla will not be worth living in,” Ghrera told a media outlet.

Another tourist, Abhimanyu Sethi from Delhi, complained: “There is no water in the hotel. I have seen the first destination in the country where the hotel has rationed water supply.”

He said he was charged Rs.100 for an extra bucket of water provided by his hotel.

Locals say Shimla faces water scarcity in both summer and winter.

The latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General that highlights the inadequacies of the Shimla Municipal Corporation, says the city was getting water only for 1.2 hours a day against the 24-hour norm.

Even the water supplied is less than the prescribed limit of 135 litres per capita per day, it said. From 2009-14, the corporation had supplied 110 litres per capita per day.

Official sources said the normal demand of the city is 42 million litres daily, but the availability ranged from 35-37 million litres.

Taking suo motu cognisance of media reports on water shortage, Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, directed the state government to file a status report and complete data on the actual amount of water supplied by it last month in Shimla.

It also sought to know the steps taken by the government to identify additional water sources so as to mitigate the problem of water shortage.

The court, which listed the matter for a June 29 hearing, observed that successive governments and municipal corporations had failed to mitigate the problem of water shortage, which now is a common feature round the year.

Irrigation and Public Health Minister, Vidya Stokes, said that ensuring round-the-clock supply of water to the people of Shimla was the top priority of the government.

Stokes told a media outlet that detailed project reports for a water supply scheme to Shimla from the Kol Dam near Tatapani, rehabilitation of water supply distribution system and rejuvenation of sewerage network, totaling up to Rs.643.05 crores had got technical clearance from the central government.

Planned for a maximum population of 16,000 during the British Raj, Shimla is now home to 170,000 people.

According to tourism industry representatives, Shimla gets 20,000-30,000 tourists on an average every weekend during the peak season — from May to June and November to January.

Urban Development Minister, Sudhir Sharma, said to check traffic jams, the department was constructing a 3.5 km ropeway, the first major ropeway project in the state capital.

Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh, laid the foundation stone of the Rs 200-crore ropeway project on June 23, that will link the new bus stand with Jodha Niwas above the Mall road.

Usha Breco Ltd, which will commission the project, said the ropeway would carry about 1,000 passengers in one-hour time and it was aiming to transport about 1.5 million passengers in a year.

The agreement between the government and the company was signed on the built-operate-and-transfer basis for 40 years.

Himachal Pradesh’s economy is highly dependent on tourism, besides hydroelectric power and horticulture. (IANS)

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Most Positive Buzz In India Created By Google in 2018: Report

YouGov "BrandIndex" also revealed the brands that noted the greatest improvement to consumer perception in 2018. 

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

Google created the most positive buzz in India last year, follewed by Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Google-owned YouTube, international research firm YouGov said on Wednesday.

Google had a Buzz score of 57.2 points, WhatsApp 55.7 and YouTube 52.9 points in the “2018 YouGov BrandIndex Buzz Rankings” in India.

“In the age of digital natives, it is no surprise that the top 10 list has a dominance of technology brands. Noticeably, financial brands have recorded good improvement to their buzz score in the past year,” YouGov India General Manager Deepa Bhatia said in a statement.

Google
The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

YouGov “BrandIndex” measures the public’s perception of brands on a daily basis across a range of metrics.

The rankings are compiled using Buzz scores from the entire year’s worth of data. Buzz scores measure whether people have heard anything positive or negative about a brand during the previous two weeks.

“According to the rankings, we see a surge in the popularity of digital brands and social networks. While the top 3 is dominated by technology giants, social networks like Facebook and Instagram park themselves at nine and 10, respectively,” said the report.

MakeMyTrip was at fourth place, followed by Amazon at fifth spot.

Google, Berlin
Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Philipp Justus, Google Vice President for Central Europe and German-speaking Countries, chat behind a Google logo during the opening of a new Google office in Berlin, Germany, Jan. 22, 2019. VOA

Cab hailing services like Ola and Uber managed to stay in the limelight for a large part of the year and grabbed seventh and eighth position, respectively.

Also Read: YouTube Bans Dangerous, Harmful Pranks From its Platform

Food-delivery platform Swiggy landed at the sixth spot in the top 10 list.

YouGov “BrandIndex” also revealed the brands that noted the greatest improvement to consumer perception in 2018.

In India, Zomato is the “most improved” brand of the past year, followed by Instagram and Kotak Mahindra Bank. (IANS)