Many of them migrated to urban areas in search of livelihood

With a view to restoring the past glory for Kolleru lake, government had taken up ‘Operation Kolleru' on the Krishna and West Godavari district borders.

But, the restoration of the lake has become a curse for the island villagers in Kaikaluru mandal, as several people migrated to urban areas in search of livelihood.

“Earlier, we used to have some work when the fish tanks were there in Kolleru lake five years ago,” said locals at Atapaka.

After demolition of the fish tanks, thousands of villagers were rendered jobless and shifted to Bhimavaram, Eluru, Gudivada, Akiveedu and other towns in search of work.

When this reporter visited Pedda Kottada, Vadlakadi Tippa, Pandillapalli Gudem and Kolleti Kota villages, many houses were found locked.

Many people, including women, used to get work in fish tanks for spraying feed, watching tanks, removing weed, other labour work like loading fish, transportation and other purposes.

Locals used to work in the feed shops and some people ran hotels for the labours and the tank owners in villages.

“Now, there was no work in Pedda Kottada and Vadlakadi Tippa villages. Most of the men and women are going to Akiveedu, Agraharam and other villages in search of farm work”, said Venkayamma of Vadkaladi Tippa village.

They want Government to provide them some work. “We don't have money to feed our families and educate our children. A few families were eking out livelihood on fishing, riding boats, running small shops and autos. Even the officials were not providing work under MGNREGS continuously”, said a local Bujji.

“The situation will be worse in summer as there will be no fishing in Kolleru.

The number of pilgrims visiting Kolleru Peddintlamma temple has also come down after ‘Ammavari Tirunallu', which concluded in March.

It has become very difficult to find work in island villages after ‘Operation Kolleru', said Suresh of Kolleti Kota village.

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