Last week, a first-year Intermediate student drowned at the Jodugulapalem Beach, when the student was trying to take a selfie on a mobile camera with his brother and another friend.
The incident occurred when 16-year-old Zaid, who was standing on a rock on the beach, was swept away by a huge wave.
Last year, two youth drowned at the same beach in a similar fashion, and three youngsters drowned while taking selfies at Chaparai waterfalls in Araku Valley. One more B. Tech student died due to electric shock at Araku when he was trying to take a selfie on top of a train. The incident occurred when the youth got up a stationary train and came in contact with the overhead electrical wires.
K. Fakkeerappa DCP of Law and Order said that “This is a worrying trend, but we do not have much control over it, apart from issuing cautionary notices.”
There is no law or Act that specifies legal norms, which can be used to notify some dangerous areas as ‘No selfie zones’.
Mr. Fakkeerappa also added that “All we can do is issue a cautionary notice and put up a warning signboard. It is for the people to respond positively.”
It is learned that the police and the authorities were involved in planning to notify some areas as ‘no selfie zones’, but lack of legal support has delayed the proposal.
Mr. Fakkeerappa observed that “We even have set-up caution notices in areas prone to drowning, but still people go for a swim and lose their lives.”
The drowning-prone beaches in the city are R.K. Beach, Yarada and Sagar Nagar or Jodugullapalem.
But in this year, there is a sharp decline in the overall number of deaths, thanks to the increase in the number of community guards by the City Police and the GVMC.
Last year, the total number of deaths was around 46. But this year, it has decreased to 16 as on date.
Primarily, it is due to increasing the number of community guards at the beaches. It has been increased from 17— manning the three beaches of RK, Yarada, and Rusikonda — to 37.
DCP appreciated the efforts of the community guards and he also said that “We have 32 taking care of the stretch from R.K. Beach to Bheemunipatnam and another five at Yarada.
Every day, they save at least 2 to 3 persons from getting drowned,” he said.
The concept of community guards was started with the idea of generating employment for unemployed youth and enhancing the safety and security of the citizens in 2012, by the then Commissioner of Police J. Purnachandra Rao.
GVMC was given initiative and it was managed by the City Police.