Just about a week ago, a first-year Intermediate student drowned at the Jodugulapalem Beach, when the youngster was taking a selfie in a mobile camera with his brother and another friend.
The incident occurred when 16-year-old Zaid, who was standing on a rock on the beach, was swept away by a huge wave.
Last year, two youth drowned at the same beach in a similar fashion, and three youngsters drowned while taking selfies at Chaparai waterfalls in Araku Valley. Another B. Tech student was electrocuted at Araku when he was trying to taking selfie on top of a train. The incident occurred when the youth got up a stationary train and came in contact with the overhead electrical wires.
“This is a worrying trend, but we do not have much control over it, apart from issuing cautionary notices,” said DCP (Law and Order) K. Fakkeerappa.
There is no law or Act that specifies legal norms, which can be used to notify some dangerous areas as ‘No selfie zones’. “All we can do is issue a cautionary notice and put up a warning signboard. It is for the people to respond positively,” said Mr. Fakkeerappa.
It is learnt that the police and the authorities concerned were planning to notify some areas as ‘no selfie zones’, but lack of legal support has shelved the proposal.
“We even have set-up caution notices in areas prone to drowning, but still people go for a swim and lose their lives,” observed Mr. Fakkeerappa.
Decrease in drowning
The drowning-prone beaches in the city are R.K. Beach, Yarada and Sagar Nagar or Jodugullapalem.
But in this year, there is sharp decline in the overall number of deaths, thanks to the increase in the number of community guards by the City Police and the GVMC.
Last year, the total number of deaths was around 46. But this year, it has dropped to 16 as on date.
Primarily, it is due to increasing the number of community guards at the beaches. It has been increased from 17— manning the three beaches of RK, Yarada and Rusikonda — to 37.
Appreciating the efforts of the community guards, the DCP said, “We have 32 taking care of the stretch from R.K. Beach to Bheemunipatnam and another five at Yarada. Every day, they save at least 2 to 3 persons from getting drowned,” he said.
The concept of community guards was initiated with the idea of generating employment for unemployed youth and enhancing the safety and security of the citizens in 2012, by the then Commissioner of Police J. Purnachandra Rao.
The initiative is supported by GVMC and managed by the City Police.