Agra: All it took for Amethi and Rae Bareli to get uninterrupted power supply was a
whisper from UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to Samajwadi Party chief
Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Amethi is Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's constituency
while Sonia Gandhi represents Rae Bareli in the Lok Sabha.
In stark contrast, Agra - the number one tourist destination in
India - is yet to get 24x7 power supply. This despite a 1993
Supreme Court order for uninterrupted power supply to the city of
the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort, all world heritage
Following Sonia Gandhi's Aug 29 tête-à-tête with Mulayam Yadav in
parliament, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav issued
orders for round the clock power supply in Amethi.
Akhilesh issued similar orders for uninterrupted power supply to
Uttar Pradesh Power Corp Ltd (UPPCL) for Rae Bareli.
His wife Dimple Yadav's constituency Kannauj, Mulayam's Mainpuri,
the Yadav family's headquarters Sefai in Etawah and Urban
Development Minister Azam Khan's Rampur are already in the
In contrast, Agra is repeatedly hit by power outages.
"There is hardly a house that does not have a generator or
invertor," said Agra's Vijay Nagar colony resident Sudheir Gupta.
In April 2010, the state's power supply was handed over to private
discom Torrent Power Ltd. The company faces daily protests - which
at times turn violent - for failing to provide adequate
"The whole city has risen against Torrent, which has been told to
pack up," said Govind Agarwal and Ravindra Pal Singh Timma,
leaders of Vyapar Mandal, which has circulated over two lakh
pamphlets listing peoples' grievances against Torrent.
Torrent claims the power supply in Agra has improved. "As for
inadequate supply and loadshedding, we are helpless as this is
done by UPPCL, from whom we purchase power for the city," a
Torrent official said.
Industries have also been hit due to frequent power cuts.
The list of woes against Torrent is long: from speeding electronic
meters, higher tariff, poor maintenance, frequent loadshedding,
arbitrary decisions and high-handedness.
Torrent officials deny these charges. "We are not getting enough
power. Infrastructural development in the city is receiving our
top attention," a company official said.
"Before the elections, the Samajwadi Party promised Agra will be
out of the clutches of Torrent. Why are they dragging their feet
now?" asked some business leaders at a meeting held Thursday.
Even as the stand-off between local consumers and Torrent - which
has an agreement to supply power to Agra for 30 years (April 2010
till 2040) - continues, what has irked residents most is the
step-motherly treatment to Agra by the Akhilesh Yadav government.
"In the government's perception, Supreme Court directives can be
ignored but not a request of Sonia Gandhi," says industry leader