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'Any moment this bridge can be washed away'

india Updated: Oct 07, 2009 00:13 IST
Praveen Donthi
Praveen Donthi
Hindustan Times
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At first, there were no signs of the floods. Apart from brief interruptions by the police trying to divert traffic, there were no hurdles. Green fields, dry roads and a clear, blue sky led me to Vijaywada.

As I came closer to the Prakasam Barrage on the river Krishna, long queues along the banks greeted me. There were men, women and children trying to catch a glimpse of the river surging below their feet. Youngsters were trying to climb on to anything that could give them a better view.

From Hyderabad, it usually takes about five hours to cover the distance to Vijaywada, but because most of the roads have been washed away by the floods, I had to take a detour. It took me almost eight hours.

I got out from my vehicle and to the left was the imposing Kanaka Durga Temple. On my right was the menacing River Krishna.

I had to push my way through the crowds. Police were trying to prevent people from going on to the barrage.

There were vans of television crews and old irrigation department jeeps with stickers that said ‘On Emergency Flood Duty’ all around the place.

As I bent over to try and look at the river, I could feel the force with which it hit the columns of the barrage.

The hitting made a loud splashing noise against the columns. It was as if the bridge would be washed away at any moment.

The river looked like it was going to suck us all into it.

The water was almost to the edge of the bridge, not even 10 feet away. I could almost feel the waves hit the bridge under my feet. The water was almost touching another train bridge close by. It seemed like I was on seashore. The river looked as imposing as a sea.

And there was another uneasy reminder: the foundations of this bridge were laid way back in 1852.