Chennai: The coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, hit by Cyclone Nilam on Wednesday, are trying to recover. The cyclone took nine lives.
The Union ministry of shipping has ordered an inquiry on the oil tanker which ran aground off the city coast due to high velocity winds and has six crew members missing.
Nilam began from Sri Lanka and moved towards Tamil Nadu and then Andhra Pradesh via Villupuram, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and the coastal areas of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Chennai. The maximum wind speed was 75 kph after landfall. A storm surge of up to 1.5 metres was forecast to flood low-lying coastal areas, the India Meteorological Department said adding rain would continue for two days in the coast.
After Wednesday afternoon, a major part of the coastal districts came under a heavy power cut, as transmission lines were cut by fallen trees. In the delta zone in south Tamil Nadu, a major hub for agricultural activity, around 250 electric posts were fell down, said a government official. Crop damage reports have begun. Also, across the state due to rain in the past few days, damage has been reported to roads and bridges at various places.
The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board said ground staff were working to restore power connections. This capital city was also heavily affected in this regard. For reconstruction in the affected areas, the state government has appointed a committee from all the departments concerned.
Most industrial houses, including manufacturing units and the information technology sector were closed yesterday but were back to work on Thursday. However, schools and colleges remained closed.
The huge information technology Special Economic Zone at Siruseri here, home for a number of major IT companies such as Cognizant, Syntel, TCS and Hexaware, had shut operations after 2 pm on Wednesday. They and major manufacturing units which had shut operations were back to operations this morning and reported no loss, except for Shasun, of Rs 8-10 crore across its two plants and formulations business.
As for the port here, operations resumed normalcy this morning. Six of 37 crew members on the Pratibha Cauvery oil tanker which ran aground are still missing. The vessel was anchored outside the port area. According to Port officials, for reasons yet not known, 22 members decided to abandon the ship in a lifeboat, which capsized. Local fishermen rescued 16 of the 22, of which three are in a serious condition and one was brought dead.
Fishermen caught in the sea have started coming back to their respective villages. There are 591 villages across 13 fishing districts in the state and a little over 900,000 have this as their livelihood.