Sarada river floods Annamayya Park and Santi Gardens

On a rainy Sunday with concern writ large over their faces, the people of the town converged on both sides of the old bridge across the Sarada in the spate and on to the new bridge on the National Highway 5. As the muddy water flowed just two feet below the bridge spanning the normally modest river end-to-end an unspoken fear that anything could happen haunted them all through the day and into the evening. Not unreasonably. The town is witnessing its worst flood after 1990, following torrential rain, bringing the new generation closer to the danger they face.

From about half a kilometre to the old bridge from the MDO office the crowd thickens and as one approaches the bridge it the walls of the new bridge under construction emerge. Policemen hold the crowd at bay using a rope. The river is flowing threateningly close to the bridge flooded the Annamayya Park and Santi Gardens and a nearby Siva temple by advancing about 50 m. The situation continued to be grim till the evening.

Some enthusiastic, politically ambitious youth like Lakshmi Prasad organised a few bags, filled it with ash and tried to prevent a breach. A Fire Department official present said 500 bags of cement, life jackets and two boats were kept ready.

The walls of the new bridge coming up stood in good stead taking the impact of the gushing waters. Residents of Saradanagar, located on the other side of the bridge, Sarada Colony, NGGOs Colony, SC Colony were evacuated. At Sai Colony, people were seen wading through waist-deep water even in the evening to reach their submerged houses.

“With the water flowing into the Sarada from Raiwada and Pedderu the flow has increased and the SN canal is not equipped to carry the flood waters,” says Venkatrao, a ZP employee.

The unplanned growth of the city and lack of drainage facility has led to the sorry situation, says prominent trader K. Butchiraju.

More In: Visakhapatnam