Post-Cyclone Thane, relief operations continue

Three days after Cyclone Thane unleashed its fury on this district and the Union Territory of Puducherry, relief operations continued on a war footing.

Updated: Jan 02, 2012, 17:30 PM IST

Cuddalore: Three days after Cyclone Thane
unleashed its fury on this district and the Union Territory of
Puducherry, relief operations continued on a war footing with
more than 2,000 personnel deployed for restoring power supply
but the government today said it would take another one week
to get things back in shape.

Though clearing of the major roads blocked by uprooted
trees and debris by yesterday came as a big relief to the
administration, life continues to be hit in interior areas
with relief workers grappling with the herculean task of
restoring power and water supply in affected areas.

Tamil Nadu Rural Industries Minister MC Sampath, who is
supervising the relief operations, said power supply would be
restored in phases and it would take another week for return
of normalcy in the entire district.

Cuddalore district bore the brunt of the storm accounting
for 31 of the 40 lives lost in Tamil Nadu while in Puducherry
seven persons were killed. The cyclone also caused extensive
damage to crops and left thousands of people in shelters.

Educational institutions would remain closed till January
5 in Cuddalore district and till tomorrow in Puducherry.

Electricity would be restored in Cuddalore and Nellikuppam
municipalities today followed by Panruti, Chidambaram and
Vridhachalam in a couple of days, Sampath told PTI after a
review meeting with officials on the progress of relief work.

An additional 1,000 engineers and technicians of the state
electricity board from neighbouring districts have joined the
800 TNEB workers in normalising power supply.

The cyclone accompanied by gale with a speed of 135 kmph
has dismantled the distribution network, uprooting
transformers and electric poles, the Minister said.

Sampath said the five-member team of IAS officials
constituted by the state government was touring the affected
areas to assess the extent of loss caused by the cyclone and
would submit its report within a week.

He said milk supply was normal in Cuddalore town since
yesterday with supplies coming in from neighbouring
Villupuram.

District Collector V Amuthavalli said a compensation of Rs
5,000 each would be distributed to those whose huts were
damaged. The damage to state highways, district and vilage
roads and culverts had been put at Rs 300.25 crore.

In Puducherry, officials said restoration of normalcy
would take another few days as work was on to remove uprooted
trees and ensuring water and power supply as they rejected
charges by opposition Congress and AIADMK of slackness in
relief works.

Local Administration Minister NG Panneerselvam, on a tour
of the ravaged areas, told PTI that adequate manpower had been
made available to clear the roads and restore power supply.

Restoration of drinking water was also taken up on an
emergency scale and generators were deployed to operate the
overhead tanks, Panneerselvam said.

He said at least one lakh people were being fed in relief
camps.

Official sources said focus was on restoration of power
supply in rural areas as supply had been available since
yesterday in most of the areas within boulevard limits. It
would take another ten days to complete the work, they added.

Milk supply has been restored in most parts although
certain specific brands were only available.

PTI