G. Nagaraja

ELURU: The water shortage in the Goavari casts a shadow on the river tourism. The official machinery has suspended the operation of tourist boats and launches in the river in the wake of serious security concerns raised by the poor water levels in the river to the cruisers.

The joint meeting of the Irrigation and the Police departments took a decision to this effect close on the heels of one country boat and two launches obstructed by the sand domes on their way to Parentapalli, the terminal point of river tourism, leaving the tourists stranded for several hours right in the middle of the river in the last three days. Besides, five cruisers, including three advocates, were drowned in the Godavari as their boat capsized after hitting a sand dome at Sivagiri.

R.Viswanadha Raju, Boat Superintendent of the Irrigation Department, said the tourist operations would be restored after a meeting with the boat operators to be held in a couple of days.

The cruise on the river proved to be risky at two particular points—Bangarampeta and Madipalli in the Pattesam-Parentapalli section, where the water level fell to the lowest ever 1.5 ft as against the required water depth of 3ft.

The ride for launches originating from Rajahmundry becomes more bumpy in view of a number of sand domes that formed along the water way. Because of the obstructions caused by the domes, the return journey from Parentapalli is said to be getting delayed till late in the night, making the trip quite risky .

Alternative point

Mr. Viswanadha Raju said the administration was thinking of developing Vadapalli, a river-side tribal village, as an originating point for the river cruise as an alternative to Pattesam and Rajahmundry, for the time being, until the inflows in the river increase so as to avoid the delay in the return journey.

The Superintendent said a request would be made to the Revenue departments for provision of basic facilities for the tourists at Vadapalli in order to make it an originating point for boats and launches. Vadapalli is deprived of cell coverage and proper ramp linking the river and the boarding point.