Natural calamities have traditionally been known to bring out the most humanitarian instincts in people. However,in a disturbing series of reports from Kurnool,people stranded in their houses or roof tops were fleeced by people who came to rescue them in the guise of good Samaritans.
The complaints of people being asked to pay exorbitant prices to be rescued became so rampant that a shocked district administration sought the governments help to get more mechanised boats and dinghies to reach the affected areas.
K Suresh who runs an advertising agency in Kurnool said that people coming into the flood-affected areas in puttis (small row boats) in the guise of good Samaritans actually struck bargains with people standing in chest deep water or hanging from trees or rooftops,to be rescued.
They took whatever gold ornaments a person was wearing to offer a boat ride to safety. They even took away the mangalsutras of terrified women caught in the swirling waters,others gave away their gold chains,bangles or ear rings to be rescued, Suresh said.
Kurnool SP C Shrikant said several private boat owners and heavy vehicle drivers who could venture into the flooded old town of Kurnool fleeced stranded people of their gold and jewellery.
The district administration and police machinery was overwhelmed by the fury of the flood. In certain parts of the old town the water levels had reached 21 feet. People had taken shelter on rooftops or high floors of highrise buildings. We have received several complaints that some people in row boats charged hefty amounts or took gold chains,bangles or ear rings to rescue people stranded in the flood waters. Those who could not pay were apparently abandoned to their fate, he added.