Being expert swimmers, fishermen in Adilabad are called upon during rescue and relief work during floods, but ironically their services go unrecognised

Unmindful of the risk of being branded an ungrateful entity, the government continues to ignore the role of the fisherman community during floods in Adilabad. Leave alone rewarding them, even some lifesaving efforts of fishermen found no mention in the Independence Day address delivered here by the district in charge Minister Basavaraj Saraiah on Thursday.

Being expert swimmers and well versed with the physical aspects of local water bodies, fishermen in given areas are relied upon by authorities to carry out rescue and relief work during flood situations.

“Their services are no less than that of the National Disaster Response Force,” observes Sirpur (T) Tahsildar T. Ramesh Goud, who has used the services of the fisher folk in flood ravaged areas in his mandal recently.

“They do not mind risking lives in the dead of night if the situation demands so,” he says. “Their boats were of great help to us in bringing out polling personnel safely across swollen streams at Tonkini and Parigam,” he adds of some of the efforts. While river crossings offered by the boatmen during floods are a common feature in Sirpur (T), Koutala, Bejjur, Kotapally and Vemanpally mandals, they were effective in saving lives especially in Bejjur in July.

In one instance, fishermen from Bombaiguda saved over 40 labourers whose work site camp was surrounded by swirling waters from Uchamallavagu stream and Peddavagu river on July 19.

In another instance, fishermen from Sulugupally helped locals to rescue a two-member RTC bus crew who were stuck in a flooded Teegala Orre stream earlier the same day.

On July 31, fishermen at Mangi in Tiryani mandal helped a dozen polling personnel across a flooded local stream in which one official was washed away. More recently, they helped in rescuing seven stranded cattleherds from Godavari near Parpelly in Laxmanchanda mandal.

The role of the fisher folk in the worse incidence of flood in 2006 in Penganga is also worth remembering. They were instrumental in saving hundreds of lives from villages lying on the banks of the river in addition to carrying food supplies for marooned people.

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