Agra : Even as the Taj Mahal appeared sparkling after a sudden downpour and the Yamuna regained some of its lost vigour, two spells of rains on Tuesday turned the city of the Taj Mahal into an ugly hell hole.
Traffic was disrupted, and the power and water supply was cut off for several hours after the unexpected showers reduced the city to shambles.
Most localities in Agra's old quarters were inundated as the drainage system remained choked due to heavy silting while the sewer system simply collapsed.
District Magistrate Mukesh Meshram went around some Dalit localities to see the havoc. Accompanied by district officials, he went to Kheria Mor, Ajit Nagar, Kamal Khan and other areas that were virtually cut off from the city after the downpour.
The city's main lifeline, Mahatma Gandhi Road, was breached and lay inundated for hours bringing traffic to a halt. Politicians were out in full force demanding relief and action against officials.
Come monsoon and the whole city of Agra presents its ugliest profile with water-logging, stinking stench piled up along the roads, Dalit areas inundated, potholes on the roads exposed, pedestrians and cyclists wading through dirty overflow from choked sewer lines, and interrupted and erratic power supply.
Year after year it is the same story. District authorities wake up to stress signals only after a couple of tragic incidents.
With just two heavy showers last week, most roads in the city were under knee- deep water as the drains were choked and the silt had not been properly dredged.
To add to the woes, several parts of the city had no power and water supply for long stretches.
The Municipal Corp of Agra knew the rains were round the bend and so did the district authorities but timely steps to reduce the impact of the weather fury were not initiated, complained residents.
"It's the same story every year. Water logging in the city acquired a fearful dimension after a dozen odd ponds which helped drain out water in the low lying areas were levelled and multi-storeyed structures raised in those areas," says social activist Netra Pal Singh.
Tourists visiting the monuments of Agra were caught unaware and waded through knee-deep water on the stretch along the Agra Fort.