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Tragedy strikes Diviseema again

By Our Special Correspondent

VIJAYAWADA OCT. 7. Diviseema, the island lying at the mouth of Krishna river, draws the attention of the outside world only when struck by tragedies - be it tidal waves, cyclones, boat accidents or faction feuds.

Before joining the sea, Krishna river branches off into two arms at Puligadda forming Diviseema island. While the smaller branch joins the sea at Hamsaladeevi, the other branches off further before joining the sea at Yetimoga forming two more islands called Yedurumondi and Nachugunta. Yedurumondi and Nachugunta islands of Nagayalanka mandal are the most backward economically as they are inhabited mostly by fishermen, Yadavas and members of the Scheduled Castes who lead quiet lives without basic amenities like education, health, transport, etc.

When the tidal wave swept Diviseema in November 1977 killing about 10,000 people, Yedurumondi did not suffer any loss of life, thanks to its higher elevation. But people travel by boat to reach the main island every day facing great risk. About 20 persons, mostly agricultural labourers, lost their lives when they were going for work in 1990. Diviseema, lying at the tailend area of the Krishna eastern delta, could not raise any crop last year for want of water. Drought conditions prevailed this year also forcing many people to migrate to other areas.

As water started reaching now, transplantation picked up momentum in Diviseema. A punt facility was introduced last year for carrying a large number of people from Yedurumondi to Yetimoga safely. But the agricultural labourers had to walk four kilometres from Gollalamanda to Yedurmondi to board the punt. As Gollamanda is just across the river, they preferred to reach it by a country boat. The overloaded boat was hit by a gale and water entered into it leading to the tragedy. Athiest leader, Lavanam, who had worked in the rehabilitation of Diviseema after the tidal wave in 1977, feels the need to augment transport facilities in the region. He said that they could provide drinking water to Yedurumondi villages with the help of a Canadian agency. But as there are too many villages inhabited by too few people, connecting them to the mainland by bridges was considered prohibitively costly, he said. Saying that boat travel is part of their lives, he underscores the need to make it safer.

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