CHENNAI/ PUDUCHERRY ;
In Tamil Nadu, over one lakh people evacuated, power supply in vulnerable areas disconnected In Puducherry, prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC clamped to restrict movement of people
GUSTY winds and rains lashed parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Wednesday leaving several areas in Tamil Nadu inundated and authorities have housed over one lakh people in shelters as severe cyclone ‘Nivar’ hurtled towards the coast. ‘Nivar would intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm and it is likely to cross the coast between Tamil Nadu and Puducherry before dawn on Thursday, the India Meteorological Department said. In its latest bulletin, the IMD said Nivar would cross over between Karaikal and Mamallapuram “during the midnight of November 25 and early hours of 26 November.”
The storm, 250 km off Chennai and 190 km and 180 km from Puducherry and Cuddalore respectively, is very likely to move north-westwards and cross coasts as a “very severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph.” Under the influence of the cyclone, coastal and north interior Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kariakal regions are likely to receive rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy showers at a few places and extremely heavy rains at isolated places. South coastal Andhra Pradesh is also likely to witness showers at most places today. Rainfall is expected to continue in many places in these regions on Thursday too with heavy rainfall at some places. With rains drenching parts of the Tamil Nadu, authorities have evacuated over one lakh people and housed them in shelters besides disconnecting power supply in vulnerable areas as a precautionary measure.
While Chief Minister K Palaniswami declared Thursday a public holiday for 13 districts, a Government order included three more districts considering the safety of people in view of the cyclone. TN Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar said, 1,03,291 people including children have been housed in 1,000 relief centres. Food, water and all other essentials including masks to help prevent coronavirus have been made available to them in the relief centres, he said.
A senior official said subsequently, the number has increased to 1,21,152. Chennai airport authorities said Aircraft operations at the airport will remain suspended from 7pm of November 25 till 7am of November 26. The decision was taken considering the safety aspect of passengers and the severity of the approaching cyclone, they said. Southern Railway said eight trains including the Danapur - KSR Bengaluru Special were diverted skipping Chennai and 10 trains including the Chennai Central-Coimbatore Special were cancelled. Surplus water was released from Chembarambakkam lake, one of the key drinking water sources to the city, since it almost neared its full level, the government said.
As the cyclone approaches, the Puducherry Government said that the administrative machinery is fully geared up to meet any exigency while Chief Minister V Narayanasamy visited coastal villages to monitor steps taken to ensure the safety of fishermen community. Prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC have been clamped in Puducherry region to restrict movement of people. In a video message, Lt Governor Kiran Bedi on Wednesday appealed to the residents to stay indoors and asked those living in low lying areas to move to safer places.
“The entire Government machinery is at your service and listen to the advice of the government for safety,” she said. The order came into force at 9 pm on Tuesday and would remain in force till 6 am on Thursday. Most of the roads and thoroughfares presented a deserted look because of the order. The National Disaster Response Force has earmarked a total of 50 teams -- with 30 being deployed on the ground in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh -- in view of the cyclone moving ahead from the Bay of Bengal towards the coastal areas.