People flock to Prakasam Barrage

Taking no chances: Police prevent overenthusiastic visitors from going to Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: RAJU. V

J.R. Shridharan and G.V.R. Subba Rao

Hundreds of visitors, with awe and fear, take a look at the swollen Krishna

VIJAYAWADA: All roads led to Prakasam Barrage on Saturday as hordes of people thronged it to witness the Krishna at her furious best, which was something that has not been experienced in the recent years. With latest information about the rising flood level in the barrage being made available by TV channels, hundreds of visitors reached the spot to look at the swollen Krishna with awe and fear.

A carnival like atmosphere, entwined with apprehension writ large on the faces of the visitors, prevailed at all the vantage spots near the barrage.

The feel of the place was touristy, which was betrayed by the signs that one could see. It was hit by amateur photographers even as gun-toting police constables were posted on the extremities of the barrage. Awe-struck admirers looked on at flood waters, while Gen X captured the water flow in their latest communication gizmos. And, some amateurs pulled out their cameras and handy video cameras and began clicking a few photographs or recording the footage.

Despite the traffic policemen’s efforts to prevent the vehicles and the visitors from entering the barrage, many tried different ways and means to hoodwink them and get a close look at the water gushing out of the crest gates.

While septuagenarians recounted their experience of seeing a similar massive flood of the 60’s, the not-so-old referred to the October 1998 flood.

“I was 20 years old when the barrage received large inflows. Now, the city is passing through a similar experience,” said Venkatanaryana, a septuagenarian, of Kummaripalem.

Equally excited was Rahul Srivasatva, a computer engineer who came from Hyderabad. “We were told by our parents about the alarming flood situation of yesteryears. Now that we have gadgets to capture mother’s fury, we are recording this scary event for future. I will upload it in my computer for the future generation,” he said.

V. Gowri Shankar, a real estate dealer of Gandhinagar said he was taking pictures “as I want to send them to my Vijayawada friends who stay in various countries.”

It was a gala time for petty vendors and hawkers. Ice-cream vendors, traders selling toy wind mills, fast foods and cool drinks made their presence felt. Though the police were driving them from Sitammavari Paadalu, the barrage, Kummaripalem, Bhavanipuram and Punnami ghat, which were badly hit by the onlookers, they regrouped and continued their business.

Some visitors performed pujas to the statue of Krishnaveni in the downstream, praying her to calm down. “Mother Krishnaveni looked after us well so far. This special puja is to beseech her to show mercy on her children,” said a devotee, who did not want to be identified.

Predictably, traffic went out of gear. Although one could drive over up to the structure itself, the roads – Pandit Nehru Bus Station, Canal road, flyover, Bhavani ghat, Ashoka pillar, Kummaripalem and so on were jam packed, and people did not hesitate to take a walk and enjoy the view from the barrage.

Two-wheeler users had a torrid time as they reached the other side of the barrage by an alternative route.