It survived over a decade helping hundreds of villagers cross the Krishna
Having served as the prime transportation mode for interconnecting the island villages cut off from the mainland, the humble punt existing for a decade in Diviseema Islands, has become an integral part of their lives.
“The punt – which plies between Edurumondi Island and Etimoga – is literally the lifeline for us as we need to cross the Krishna for all our needs. River Krishna is said to be the life-line of Krishna district,” says Nagayalanka-based farmer Bhogireddy Anand Kumar, who owns 24 acres of land.
From the time of the onset of the monsoon, there are dozens of farmers like Mr. Anand who travel everyday on the motorised vehicle in search of agricultural labour to hire from Edurumondi Island villages – Brahmayyagarimola, Gollamanda, Jinkapalem and Nachukunta and Eelachetla Dibba. The existence of the punt is not considered significant, but taken for granted as the basic amenity.
It survived over a decade helping hundreds of villagers cross the river.
The punt measures only 20 feet in length, but makes unprecedented number of trips between Edurumondi and Etimoga everyday, throughout the year.
In memory of a village elder late Kanna Janardhana Rao of Edurumondi, who played a key role in introducing the heavy vehicle in 2002, it is remembered and immortalized with two sign-hoardings having his photo at both destinations.
During the journey of the punt in the heartland of the fishermen’s world, a mini diversified India can be witnessed as there is no discrimination among the passengers who sit along with others irrespective of their social or financial background.
Having capacity of generating huge revenue by tapping the transportation need of the people on the troubled waters, few villages competed to get the lease over the single punt– to have the right over it to run, operate and transfer back (ROT).
“The Edurumondi Panchayat Committee, which is running the punt since Government had developed it, had recently auctioned it on ROT basis, but a legal battle is going on over the lease agreement now without any effect on regular services of the punt,” Edurumondi Panchayat In-Charge Secretary P. Mallikarjuna Rao told The Hindu.
“The punt is not the sole transporter of human beings and vehicles. It connects us to the Sunday shandy at Nagayalanka to tap the dry fish market,” says Yanadi tribal Chetti Laxmaiah.
A classic example how the punt has turned synonymous with local lives is that the bus plying from Nagayalanka to Etimoga has been named after the punt – by calling it the Punt Bus.