Shimla Struggles to Recover from Devastating Rains and Landslides

Shimla, located in Himachal Pradesh and situated around 400 km away from Delhi, is facing a dire situation in the aftermath of torrential rains that struck the region last month. Normally a seven-hour drive, the journey to Shimla now takes a staggering 10 hours due to extensive damage from rain-induced disasters. The district has been the hardest hit by the recent rain fury in the hill state, experiencing severe flooding and landslides that have left a trail of destruction in their wake.

Challenges in Himachal Pradesh

The aftermath of the torrential rains has revealed the extent of the challenges faced by Himachal Pradesh. Despite the passage of a month since the calamity, the region, known for its popularity among tourists, continues to grapple with the aftermath. The situation is grim as roads leading into the state, including those from Punjab and neighboring states, are obstructed by debris from multiple landslides. Efforts to clear the roads are underway, with JCB machines and other equipment working hard to restore access.

Impact on Tourism and Infrastructure

The month of August usually brings pleasant weather to the hill state, attracting tourists seeking a mountain getaway. However, this time around, planning a vacation to the region requires careful consideration. Many buildings have collapsed, casting doubts on the availability of suitable accommodations. The CNN-Smartkhabrinews team experienced this firsthand when they booked a hotel near Mandi, one of the severely affected districts. The roads initially seemed fine, but cracks emerged next to the hotel overnight, underscoring the fragile state of the infrastructure.

“Roads and smooth traffic flow are considered a catalyst to development in any state and, especially, in mountainous regions where daily commute is only possible via roads.”

The impact of the bad weather is felt across the state’s road network, including highways, main roads, and sub-lanes. For instance, the journey from Shimla to Mandi now takes six to seven hours due to route diversions, compared to the usual four hours. This disruption has significant implications for the tourism sector, which forms the backbone of Himachal Pradesh’s economy. The sector contributes around Rs 11,000 crore, accounting for 7.5 percent of the state’s total GDP.

Struggles of Local Businesses

The economic strain caused by the calamity is evident among local businesses. Ajay, the owner of a small eatery on Shimla’s Mall Road, shared how this year’s earnings pale in comparison to those of a typical tourist year. Daily earnings have plummeted from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 to a mere Rs 300 to Rs 400. With their life savings on the line, many local residents are grappling to keep their businesses afloat.

Contributing Factors

Mithlesh Thakur, a resident of Shimla for over four decades, sheds light on the factors contributing to Himachal Pradesh’s current predicament. He attributes the woes to the state’s overpopulation, leading to a “sinking Shimla.” The statistics support this claim, with Shimla’s annual footfall on Mall Road projected to increase from 13,36,685 in 2020 to 16,29,412 by 2030. The population of Himachal Pradesh, based on the 2011 Census data, stands at 68,65,000. Shimla’s population, at 8,14,000, is growing at an annual rate of 1.22 percent, outstripping the region’s capacity.

Political Dimensions and Crisis

The situation has not only highlighted environmental concerns but also ignited a political discourse. The ruling Congress and the opposition BJP are engaged in a political tug of war. Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu reveals that the state government has incurred losses of approximately Rs 8,000 crore due to flash floods caused by heavy rains. He emphasizes the need for immediate financial aid from the central government. Former Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, however, urges a focus on collaboration over politics, highlighting the assistance offered by the central government in terms of funds and manpower.


The challenges brought about by the devastating rains and landslides have thrust Himachal Pradesh, particularly Shimla, into a critical situation. The state’s infrastructure and economy are grappling to recover from the widespread damage. The aftermath serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between tourism, development, and environmental sustainability. As the region seeks to rebuild and rejuvenate, collaboration and sustainable planning will play pivotal roles in ensuring a resilient future.

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