The misery of the people of flood-affected villages on the banks of the Tungabhadra in Raichur district of Karnataka and neighbouring Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh has worsened as the rail and road links between the two States have been cut off during the past 13 days.
The residents of Mantralaya, Madhavaram, Pathikonda and adjoining villages of Kurnool district frequent Raichur, the nearest city to meet their medical and other needs. Many people from these places travel daily to Raichur where they are employed. Similarly, people from Yelebicchali, Hanumapur, Talmari, Chikkamanchali and other villages of Raichur district are dependent on the Mantralayam Road Railway Station, which is the hub of commercial activity in the region, situated on the other bank of the Tungabhadra.
Routine life has taken a beating in these villages as the floods have badly damaged the road overbridge constructed across the Tungabhadra near Madhavaram and the railway lines near the Mantralayam Road Railway Station, cutting off road and rail links between the two States.
The impact of the floods has been so severe that a new bridge constructed across the Tungabhadra, parallel to the existing railway bridge, has moved almost 2 ft towards the railway lines and damaged the tracks. The new bridge, which is not completely ready as yet, has become the only link between the villages situated on either bank of the river. Although Railway officials said that it was risky to use the new bridge people have been using it as there is no alternative.
When this correspondent visited Yelebicchali, Hanumapur and a few other villages in Raichur district on Monday, several people were crossing the nearly 2-km-long narrow bridge on their motorcycles.
Satish of Raichur, who works as a trolley man with the Railways at Mantralayam Road Railway Station, said that for the past 12 days he had been walking around 3 km, boarding an autorickshaw to reach the nearest village, and then taking a bus to Raichur.
The earnings of petty shopkeepers and owners of small eateries situated in and around the Mantralayam Road Railway Station have been severely affected. There were no customers as not a single train had passed through the station since October 2, Jaffer, who owns a tea stall in front of the railway station, told The Hindu.
Mantralayam Road Railway Station is a bustling place as several inter-State trains pass through this station daily. Every day hundreds of pilgrims to Mantralaya board and alight from trains at this station.
An official who was supervising the restoration work, said that though senior Railway officials from the Guntakal division were making all efforts to repair the tracks, it would take at least 10 more days for train services to resume.