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Saturday, October 20, 2001

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Eight bodies fished out of Gundlakamma

By Our Staff Reporter

GUNTUR, OCT. 19. As many as eight bodies of those who were washed away in the gushing waters of the Gundlakamma river were fished out on Friday.

According to the Superintendent of Police, Mr. J. Purnachandra Rao, who is supervising the retrieval of the bodies, the search was going on in downstream areas. All bodies which have been recovered so far were that of women. One search party was sent to Addanki. The District Collector and the Superintendent of Police of Prakasam districts were also alerted to keep a vigil on the course of the river.

The search parties were constituted with 100 persons, including police personnel, revenue staff and swimmers brought from Vijayawada and Nagarjunasagar.

The SP said the possibility of the bodies reaching Chinaganjam in Prakasam district, where the river joins the sea, due to heavy currents also could not be ruled out. Joint teams, comprising police and revenue personnel, had gone to Jangalapalli, Tripurapuram, Kondalarayunipalem, Perumallapalli, Mulakaluru and Gokanakonda villages to conduct the search. Another party was sent to Naguluppalapadu and Chadalavada in Prakasam district.

Besides, motorcycle parties were also moving along the course of the river. ``Putties'' from Macherla were pressed into service. The Government announced a reward to swimmers for recovering the remaining bodies. The swimmers would get Rs 2,000 for every body that would be recovered now.

The river course was so tricky that it took a curvilinear shape at Tellabadu village and moved downwards. This must have resulted in the increased velocity of the currents. Besides, the banks were very slushy and the stone supports that formed into steps were very slippery due to gathering of moss.

The District Collector, Mr. Hiralal Samariya, who has been camping there since last night, announced an ex gratia of Rs 50,000 for each death to families of the kin of those who were washed away, under the ``Apathbandhu'' scheme. Besides, the bereaved families would get a house under Indira Awas Yojana.

The district administration was proposing to have a rope-way across the river near Tellabadu to facilitate the movement of the farmers and farm labourers.

What is ironical in the whole episode is that the highly superstitious villagers opposed the bringing of the bodies into the village.

The Minister for Medical and Health, Dr. Sanakkayala Aruna, and the Minister for Technical Education, Mr. Alapati Rajendra Prasad, visited the scene and offered condolences to the bereaved families.

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