“Unscheduled power cuts spoilt Eid for us”
MOHAMMAD AMIR, 30 Tailor, Dewa Shareef
Atailor in the main market of Dewa, close to Haji Waris Ali Shah’s birthplace Dewa Shareef in Barabanki, Mohammad Amir was inundated with orders to stitch clothes before Eid on May 3. Two years of the pandemic lockdown had robbed Eid of all colour, and the residents of Dewa Shareef were determined this time to go all out in celebrating the festival.
Amir worked day and night to finish the 150-odd orders he had received. Except that power cuts played spoilsport. With no power at night, Amir would stitch clothes in the light of his cellphone torch and a candle. Yet, he could not complete all the orders. “There was no lockdown this time, but the unscheduled power cuts stole our Eid.” While Amir retained his cool, angry residents in many districts, including
Aligarh, Moradabad and Pilibhit, spilled out on to the streets.
The heat wave in April had pushed the demand for electricity to above 22.5 GW, while the state could supply only 19 GW. To compensate for the 3.5 GW shortfall, it had to resort to undeclared power cuts. The state had hoped to supply 18 hours of power to rural areas, and 21.3 hours to Nagar Panchayats and tehsils. However, per an electricity department report, rural areas were getting 9.19 hours, Nagar Panchayats 14.33 hours and tehsil areas 15.07 hours on average. State power minister Arvind Sharma blamed previous governments for UP’s power woes: “In the past 50 years, no effort was made to improve the power situation in UP. The public has to bear its brunt.” Now that BJP is in its second term, will things change?