“I was left with no other option than missing my school for 15 days as the Musi river, which was in spate, did not allow us to cross it to reach the school in Gurajala village, at the other side of the river,” lamented Chilkuri Sravani, a class six student of Veldevi village in Mothukur mandal. The girl, along with her friends, was seen crossing the river on Tuesday.
Veldevi Panchyat comes under Mothkur mandal, while Gurajala village falls under Saligouraram mandal and the villages are located just two kilometres away on the opposite banks of the Musi river. Veldevi village, with a population of 1,300, has a primary school only. Hence, the students have to go to Gurajala High School.
Embarrassing for girls
The students from Veldevi have not been attending the school for a week as the Musi is in spate owing to heavy rain in the upstream areas. It has become a regular affair here whenever the river is full. Students, with a change of clothes in their bags, wade through the river, to reach the other side.
They change into dry clothes on reaching their school and dry the wet dresses there. And the ritual is repeated in the evening on the way home.
“Imagine, the embarrassment the teenage girls face while changing their dresses in the open, behind the trees on the river bank,” Ch. Swathi, a class ten student said, while her friends reiterated the same in silence.
The problem has forced some villagers to admit their children in the private schools located in Mothkur mandal head quarters, 25 km away from the village.
Out of 80 students of the village studying in high schools, 50 sought admission in private schools and the rest are going to Gurajala High School.
“I was forced to send my two children to a private school in Mothkur for which I had to shell out Rs. 50,000 per annum as crossing the brimming Musi river is dangerous," said Nimmala Ramesh, a resident of Veldevi.
Speaking to The Hindu, Chama Yadagiri Reddy, a 93-year-old freedom fighter from the nearby Ramagiri village said that the construction of a bridge over Musi had been a long-pending demand.
Bridge proposal gathering dust
“I have been knocking the doors of people’s representative and officials since years, but all fell on the deaf ears,” he said. He also showed the proposal for construction of a causeway with an estimated cost of Rs. 13 crore prepared by the Panchyat Raj department in 2008-09.
“The proposal has been lying in cold storage. I recently visited the R&B office to pursue the officials to take up the project, but to no avail,” he added.
The proposed bridge not only will help the people and students of nearby villages, but also cut the distance from Nalgonda to Hanmonda by 25 km and Miryalaguda to Hanmkonda by about 60 km, besides connecting Tirumalgiri, Torrur mandals with Saligouraram.
Meanwhile, the villages demanded that government convert the proposal to a high-level bridge.