Andhra Pradesh

Chittoor roads turn into cesspools

Chittoor district, for the first time in recent decades, has been witnessing incessant rains from June, with spells of respite in between.

However, the rains in August-October have come to play the villain for several forested villages in the mandals of Bangarupalem, Palamaner, Baireddipalle, V. Kota and Ramakuppam mandals, mostly located alongside the national highways towards Bengaluru and Hosur.

Over a hundred hamlets are nestled inside the forests of these mandals. Surprisingly, the tail-end mandals, which usually receive scanty to deficient rainfall, have received copious rains this season. A majority of the tanks and ponds in the forests at the tri-State junction, flanked by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, are brimming with rainwater. Several roads, mostly gravel, have turned into muddy ponds, making it tough for the people in the forested areas to attend to their daily chores.

About two dozen hamlets in Baireddipalle mandal bore the brunt of the rains. The population generally depends on the forest produce and does farm work in the neighborhood. They have to go to Kuppam to buy essential commodities or to sell their produce, or to visit primary health centres, and have to crisscross roads in rough terrain in order to reach the national highway.

After the COVID-19 lockdown, transport on the remote gravel roads in forested areas took a beating. Now, the situation has only aggravated due to reluctance of the auto-drivers to ply in ankle-deep mud. At several stretches, even riding two-wheelers is a difficult task on the gravel roads, leading to mishaps. In recent months, the mishaps involving two-wheelers, and auto-rickshaws were on the rise, including half a dozen casualties.

Residents of Kotrepalle, Gaddur, Sanipalle, Vengamarapalle and Nellipatla observed that in the absence of any mode of transport, in some emergency situations, they were forced to walk several kilometers in the forest roads to reach Baireddipalle mandal headquarters, and this being a Herculean task for the elderly and children. “Fortunately, the schoolchildren are confined to their homes, which otherwise it would be difficult to even imagine our plight surrounded by forests and muddy roads,” an ex-sarpanch of a remote panchayat said.

A senior forest official said that it was for the first time that the region, between Kuppam and Palamaner, had received considerably good rains in recent months. The problem of gravel roads turning muddy has surfaced in August-September. “If we want to do anything at this stage, it requires a big process to undertake blacktopping of roads in forested areas,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 8:06:57 PM |

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