Pot-holed Agra roads put off tourists
Though a new tourist season is about to begin next week, the city administration is yet to wake up to repair and clean up the roads in the city which have not only become a safety hazard but also assault the aesthetics of the Taj city.
The tourism industry leaders are alarmed at the lack of concern and general apathy towards streamlining the civic amenities vitally necessary for the visiting tourists.
"When tourists, particularly those from the developed world arrive in Agra, they are aghast at the dismal conditions. This results in either short visits or same day return by most visitors," said senior hotelier Surendra Sharma.
The rains have exposed the claims of the city administration of having patched up or filled all the potholes and completed the repair work on most.
A whole stretch of the road leading to the posh Surya Nagar colony in civil lines area caved last month. Luckily a lady motorist survived the ordeal.
The PWD has blamed the private power discom Torrent which in turn has blamed the Jal Nigam's sewerage department.
"This is neither here nor there. Passing the buck is their favourite game," commented a senior citizen Sudhir Gupta from Vijay Nagar Colony.
Another stretch of road with gaping holes, leading to the Nunihai Industrial Estate, also caved in sometime ago. Once again luck saved many precious lives.
Municipal Corporation Commissioner Arun Prakash said that the filling of potholes is continuing.
The mayor Navin Jain has aslo assured citizens that prompt remedial measures would be taken to ensure safe mobility.
"Even during the festival season nothing was done. Many stretches still require patchwork treatment to avoid accidents," says Pandit Jugal Kishor, a local.
The city administration had claimed in June that all the drains had been cleaned and that there would be no water-logging anywhere. But the claim was proved wrong in the first two big showers that inundated low lying areas.
"Water-logging continues in Balkeshwar area, in Loha Mandi, in colonies on the periphery of the city," a local resident said.
The city police has failed to demolish encroachments around the monuments. "All they do is to send notices. For want of police force, no action to evict illegal occupants is possible. You also need political will," adds Goswami Nandan Shrotriya of the Yamuna Kinara road.
The city appears in a shambles, heaps of garbage dumped along railway tracks, the Yamuna river bed dry and polluted continues to irk visitors, but there is no sense of urgency in official agencies entrusted with the task of transforming Agra into a smart city.IANS