The city was without power for almost 10 hours Sunday, when thousands of generators belched smoke and noxious gases. "For the past fortnight, power supply remains suspended in the city for more than six hours a day and this is the beginning of the tourist season. The power supply department says the erratic power supply will continue till the month-end," noted social activist Shravan Kumar Singh.
Private discom Torrent Power says a technical reason has necessitated the outages. Torrent senior manager Pankaj Saxena said: "A 500 MVA transformer is being installed at the Peeli Pokhar sub-station. For this, the power supply has to be cut."
The city has been facing an acute power crisis since September 15. "Each day, the power supply remains cut for six to eight hours. The mosquitoes are making life hell for the people. You have the dengue and viral fever virtual epidemics, as you can see from the house-full signs in the hospitals and private nursing homes. This is terrible," complained homemaker Padmini to IANS.
Each time the lights go on the blink, thousands of diesel-powered generators kick in. "The emissions are definitely adding to the air and noise pollution levels. So whatever has been achieved in fighting air pollution in the city has been largely neutralised," said activist Anand Rai.
On Sunday evening, hundreds of people protested and pelted stones at the Fatehabad Road sub-station when the power went off, forcing people on the roads. The road-block was lifted after much persuasion by officials and policemen.
On Saturday, Torrent officials were held hostage by a politician. "The aam aadmi is terribly irritated. Patients in the nursing homes are having a tough time. Water supply is also affected. Could they have not chosen another time for the shutdown? If they had wanted, they could have made alternative arrangements for power supplies. But it is clear that Agra is being targeted for rough treatment by the powers that be in Lucknow," Sudheir Gupta, angry resident of Vijay Nagar Colony, told IANS.
This is festival time. The Puja pandals need lighting. The showrooms in markets too need extra power. "Now if this situation continues till the month-end as we have been told, it is clearly going to affect everyone. Even the Eid festivities would be affected," said hotelier Surendra Sharma.
Mathura too is facing a similar problem, as the Peeli Pokhar sub-station also supplies power to the Hindu holy town. "Luckily, the temperature is falling and the recent rains have made life bearable but the mosquitoes are a huge menace," commented Naresh Paras of the Ek Koshish Foundation that works in the area of education and welfare.
(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
--IANS (Posted on 08-10-2013)