Andhra Pradesh

Rain-drenched waterfalls in Chittoor turn fatal attraction for picnickers

Youth, mostly from Tamil Nadu, are victims

Good rainfall since August has rejuvenated several parched waterfalls in Chittoor district. The start of rainy season always bring hordes of picnickers from Tamil Nadu (TN), particularly the border areas, to various scenic waterfalls, including the famous Talakona, Ubbalamadugu, Nagalapuram waterfalls, Bhupateswara Kona, Kailasa Kona and Kaigal. The picturesque Sadasiva Kona waterfalls atop a hill is another attraction to visitors during the Karthika month, falling in November. Nagalapuram waterfalls and the adjoining Bhupateswara Kona are considered deadly during rainy season, with a history of about a dozen deaths in the last few years.

Drink and dive

This has prompted police and forest department personnel to mount surveillance at several picnic spots vulnerable to casualties.

Over five hundred youth in batches would throng these two waterfalls with considerably poor surveillance. Several youth would come with liquor and non-vegetarian food to party. Hoodwinking the forest and police personnel, the revellers would venture into the forest trails and spend a night close to the waterfalls, relaxing on the rocks surrounded by waters.

Going by the police records, a majority of the casualties showed inebriated state while venturing into the deep waters. Many youth who do not know the dangerous terrain and treacherous depths in the streams fall victims to it. Incidentally, almost all the adventure-lovers coming here are from Tamil Nadu, mostly Chennai. Forest Range Officer (Satyavedu) J. Prasada Rao told The Hindu that since the start of rains in the eastern mandals, strict surveillance was mounted at all waterfalls under his jurisdiction. “The youth are subjected to checks before allowing them inside Ubbalamadugu waterfalls near Varadaiahpalem, also known as Tada falls. Nobody is allowed to carry liquor, and those found in a drunken state are barred from entering the zone,” he said.

Dangerous spots

Ubbalamadugu witnessed about half-a-dozen casualties in the last five years. There were also instances of some TN youth entering into heated arguments with the forest personnel for preventing them. Last week, a group of 10 youth from Chennai had created a flutter at Nagalapuram falls when the forest staff there objected to their entry.

However, the youth had later relented following a warning that the police would be called in.

Sub-Inspector (Varadaiahpalem) Hari Prasad said police were leaving no stone unturned to create awareness among picnickers visiting the waterfalls at Ubbalamadugu and towards Nagalapuram.

Restrictions

Police have also put up signboards along the Tada-Varadaiahpalem road, warning against the dangers of deep waters and liquor. Coming to Talakona and Kailasanatha Kona, the forest personnel are in full control of the movement of the visitors, restricting visiting hours and posting sentries at all risky locations to prevent nature lovers from entering deep into the woods.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 4:37:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/rain-drenched-waterfalls-in-chittoor-turn-fatal-attraction-for-picnickers/article29688626.ece

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