The inhabitants of seaside villages on either side of the Yanamadurru drain of West Godavari district are literally living on the edge.
In the absence of bridges, boat is the only means of transport in these parts. The drain joins the Upputeru near Patapadu in Mogaltur mandal. Travel by boat has become part of their routine for villagers ever since irrigation and drainage systems were designed by Sir Arthur Cotton. Country boats are very much in demand and are seen carrying two-wheelers, bicycles, fishing nets and other work tools.
Crossing the drain by boat is quite risky when it is in spate. There are instances of boat capsizes leading to the death of several people in the past. “What can we do? If we want to go to Tokatippa, a village located just on the other side of the drain from our village (Gutlapadu) avoiding the drain route, we will have to go via Bhimavaram, covering 15 km,” rues a woman from Gutlapadu. Use of the drain for waterways became a major source of revenue for the gram panchayats en route which auction ferry points to boat operators on annual contract. The operators in turn collect a sum of Rs. 2 from each person and Rs. 10 from two-wheelers owners for ferrying them across the drain.
The Godavari delta modernisation project, however, holds out a promise for them as it provides for construction bridges across the drain at four different places. In addition, a bridge connecting the Kattipudi-Pamarru National Highway-216 at Barrevanipet is under construction. But snail's pace, the highway is getting delayed to be thrown open to the traffic.
In the absence of bridges people from seaside villages forced to use boats to cross over