VISAKHAPATNAM: Beaches anywhere in the world are tourist getaways, but Visakhapatnam, called Goa of the East, with a number of scenic beaches is turning out to be a deathtrap for beach lovers.
Without learning lessons from past experiences, no proper precautions are taken at the local beaches. The beaches are devoid of public address systems and enough warning boards. The result of this is that around 425 deaths have been reported in the six beaches of the city in the past eight years. In the first week of July, six school students drowned in a beach near Appikonda area. Apart from major tourist getaways like Ramakrishna Beach, Rushikonda, Bheemili, Yarada, Appikonda, Gangavaram, Mangamaripeta, beach lovers hang out at Jodugulapalem, Lawson’s Bay, Bheemili and Atchutapuram during weekends, which are even dangerous stretches.
Oceanography experts point out occurrence of rip currents as the major reason behind the mishaps. Rip currents which cannot be seen with naked eyes can trigger strong intense tides which have the ability to suck anyone who come in the way.
“Due to man-made constructions and encroachments, rip currents are forming in the city beaches. The profile of the city beaches gradually changed, turning into hidden deathtraps,” said retired Andhra University Oceanography HoD Prof OSRU Bhanu Kumar.
Reacting, city police pointed fingers at the people for negligence. Dredging at the sea coast for sand, which increases depth, also poses a threat to public. At many places, the depth of the sea increased as the sand is mined and deposited elsewhere. A senior police officer said that though there are community guards and display boards on the beaches, people venture deep.