As heavy rainfall lashed various parts of Andhra on Tuesday, a man from Kudumusare village in Chintapalli mandal carried his six-month old daughter through deep water and walked five kilometers to the nearest health centre.
Thirty-year-old Pangi Satibabu was worried that his daughter's fever had not subsided over the past few days.
However, all roads that were connecting his village to other parts of the state were inundated due to the heavy rains over the last week.
Despite his family warning him of the risks, Satibabu on Tuesday set out to take his daughter to the nearest health centre.
In what seemed to be a real-life enactment of the scene from 'Baahubali,' Satibabu waded through shoulder-deep water and carried his daughter to safety.
The child is said to be out of danger.
Speaking to The News Minute, Srinivas Ganjivarupu, a social activist said "30 to 40 per cent of the villages in the Agency area of Visakhapatnam do not have road connectivity due to which villagers are suffering when it comes to healthcare and education."
He also goes on to add that the situation was especially worse in tribal areas.
A larger problem
According to the 2011 Census, the Visakhapatnam District has a population of 42,88,113. The Agency area consists of 17 mandals in total and constitutes 2400 tribal villages.
The Agency area is located in the Eastern Ghats, and is home to many tribal communities. 90% of the population in this area belongs to various tribal communities including particularly vulnerable groups.
The Principal Hill tribes living in the Agency are Bhagatha, Kondadora, Khond, Kondakapu, Valmiki, Kammara, Gadaba, Kotias, Porja and Nookadora. They mostly speak Telugu and a few speak tribal dialects like Gadaba and Kotiya.
Srinivas says that the tribes are completely disconnected from the mainland as they live in hilly areas.
"Before the state can construct an elementary school or a health care centre, it needs roads. However, that itself is missing," he says.
"Another thing to take into consideration is the distribution of population among these tribes. Each tribe will only have a very few households that are cluttered together. Unlike villages, where two or three small villages can share a panchayat, it takes at least 20-30 tribe settlements to form one common panchayat," he adds.
According to protocol, there should be one Primary Health Centre (PHC) for every 30,000 people.
"The same logic can't be applied for these areas as 30,000 people are spread across a massive area. The quality of the healthcare at the centre is another question altogether," Srinivas adds.
The state is also constantly trying to deal with Maoists in the area, which also makes contractors uneasy to do construction work in the area. Last week, District Collector Praveen Kumar visited Maoist stronghold areas, making it the first visit by an IAS officer after almost four years.
The Times of India reported:
The collector, on his way from Munchingput to Rudakota via road, was surprised to see that the entire 22-km stretch not having a single public amenity and said he will take up construction of public amenities with the help of World Bank funds that is expected to be sanctioned next month...He interacted with the local public who complained about the lack of proper roads and other facilities in social welfare hostels.
Meanwhile, the death toll due to rain-related incidents in Visakhapatnam district rose to 10 on Tuesday.
A Central team visited the state to assess the damage caused by the heavy showers even as the state government announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of those killed.