Expert swimmers to keep watch throughout the year at Yarada, R.K. Beach, and Rushikonda

The death of six budding engineers at Rushikonda beach has raised questions about safety of visitors at different beaches on the coast of the city. Parents of the students of colleges and schools located along the Beach Road are worried about the safety of their children.

District Collector V. Seshadri held a meeting Commissioner of Police J. Purnachandra Rao, GVMC Commissioner M.V. Satyanarayana and other top officials on Thursday at which it was decided to appoint swimmers at Yarada, R.K. Beach, and Rushikonda.

The GVMC authorities will identify swimmers and enlist them. The idea is to utilise their services round the year instead of the need-based hiring like during Ganesh immersion.

Expressing concern over the increasing number of deaths due to drowning, Mr. Seshadri said: “It is unfortunate that in the two incidents of drowning in the recent past, the students had strayed into isolated areas and got into the water ignoring the risk.”

The officials decided to take steps to ensure that caution boards were put up immediately all along the coastline to warn revellers and tourists.

When his attention was drawn to the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) report on the danger of rip currents at most of the beaches in the region, the District Collector said: “I have seen the report. We will initiate all possible measures to safeguard the lives of tourists.” He also said that the GVMC Commissioner had already announced his plans for beautification of the Lawson’s Bay beach, which was declared one of the safest beaches in the city.

‘Orientation needed’

Mr. Purnachandra Rao called for a change in the attitude of youth and advised college managements to conduct orientation programmes to educate students on the risks involved in getting into the water. “Police posts will be set up at Rushikonda, Yarada and R.K. Beach. Our men can keep a watch at some locations but it is humanly impossible for us to monitor the long coastline all the time,” he said and urged all stakeholders to proactively participate in ensuring safety of the tourists.

“We have a list of 150 fishermen who are good swimmers and are capable of rescue operations at sea and their services were utilised during the recent 10-day Ganesh immersion festival. The GVMC and the police too can utilise their services,” Joint Director of Fisheries P. Koteswara Rao said.

Swimming at sea is dangerous even for expert swimmers as the tide flow movements and hidden rocks wouldn’t be known, said experts. Many revellers think of simply going into knee-deep water and the ‘fatal attraction’ draws them into the deep and sometimes eventually to their death.

“It is not just the government but everyone has a stake in ensuring the safety of the people visiting the beaches,” said a hotelier.

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