Protest marches in Agra over power outages

Tired of the erratic electricity supply in this Uttar Pradesh city, hundreds of professionals, shopkeepers and political party workers have decided to hold protest candle marches here for the next few days.

Agra: Tired of the erratic electricity supply in this Uttar Pradesh city, hundreds of professionals, shopkeepers and political party workers have decided to hold protest candle marches here for the next few days.

The Taj city has been witnessing regular power outages for the last few months.

Locals complain that as per a Supreme Court directive, Agra should be getting round the clock power supply, but it is getting only 12 to 14 hours of supply.

This has resulted in losses to the industries and has hit the tourism sector. School children are angry and hospitals and nursing homes' staff are up in arms. The markets are without electricity supply for long hours.

"The situation is worse in rural area," says farmer Ravi Singh. More diesel is being consumed in Agra by generators than by vehicles, he added.

As a result, hundreds of representatives from business chambers, professional bodies and political parties held a protest with candles in the Sanjay Place commercial complex here late Wednesday.

A spokesperson of the joint action committee said the candle marches will continue for the next few days in different parts of the city.

Agra's two power houses were shut down three decades ago on a recommendation to the Supreme Court by the S Vardarajan Committee. Since then the city's power needs are met by supplies from power grids.

The hoteliers association, the Agra branch of the National Chamber of Industries and Commerce, and many professional bodies like the Indian Medical Association and chartered accountants association have joined the movement to protest against the power outages.

The local BJP Lok Sabha member Ram Shankar Katheria and the few other party MLAs are supporting the agitation.