Rains continue to lash Puducherry

Heavy rains pounded Puducherry overnight after a short relief with state agencies finding it tough to carry out rescue operations.

Puducherry: Heavy rains pounded Puducherry overnight after a short relief with state agencies finding it tough to carry out rescue operations.

Residents of the union territory had got relief for a while on Friday when there was some let up in the downpour but it started raining heavily again last night.

Official sources said Puducherry and its suburbs recorded 9.1 cm rainfall in the last 24 hours ending 8.30 am today.

Total rainfall recorded in Puducherry since the beginning of this week has crossed 60 cms, the sources said.

Though hindered by the rains, Department of Revenue and Disaster Management, led by District Collector D Manikandan, has been intensifying its steps to provide relief to the rain-affected people and also those at the relief camps.

Several organisations like the Puducherry Heritage Round Table 167 have also been carrying out relief operations such as distribution of food packets.

In the wake of the torrential rains, the Puducherry government had declared holiday for all educational institutions in the UT till this weekend.

The Pondicherry University has also put off all examinations scheduled to be held during this week at its departments and affiliated colleges.

"Fresh dates would be announced soon," university's Assistant Registrar K Mahesh said.

Lt Governor AK Singh reviewed the situation and held several meetings with officials to discuss rescue operations and steps being taken to prevent an outbreak of diseases.

On Friday after announcing a relief package of Rs 150 crore, Chief Minister N. Rangasamy had told reporters, "The rain havoc should be an eye opener to locate the man-made reasons for devastation. Departments should plug the loopholes in maintenance of the storm water canals."

Meanwhile, opposition Congress, led by PCC president A Namassivayam, has presented a memorandum to Lt Governor in which it has expressed its disappointment over the "failure" of adequate relief works.

Former Union minister V Narayanasamy was among those who met the Lt Governor and presented the memorandum.

"The Congress wants waiver in farm loans in view of the havoc," Narayanasamy said.

He said that he would meet the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Agriculture Minister and would pitch for a grant of Rs 200 crore to Puducherry immediately. 

In Karaikal, an enclave of Puducherry in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu, nearly 50 houses were damaged due to heavy rains and flooding.

District Collector of Karaikal E Vallavan told PTI, when contacted over phone today, that the administration has opened 66 relief centres to provide temporary accommodation to people from the low-lying areas.

He said that as many as 25,000 food packets were made available to the people during lunch and a similar number of packets were being distributed at night in Karaikal, about 150 kms from the Puducherry capital.

Vallavan said precautionary desilting works launched some three months ago to rejuvenate and strengthen seven major water bodies have prevented massive inundation of fields in Karaikal.

"Our advance measure has helped us escape the fury of monsoon," he said.

One of the two teams of National Disaster Response Force deployed in the Union Territory has been camping in Karaikal. "We have geared up the machinery in all possible manner," Vallavan said.

He said the region has so far recorded 110 cm rainfall although during the north east monsoon (October to December) the region would have 130 cm rainfall.

He said that the regional administration was in utmost preparedness to meet any exigency. All educational institutions will remain closed till Monday.

Meanwhile, National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF) expressed its disappointment over absence of any relief measures for the fishermen community.

NFF chairman M Ilango said in a release that the chief minister had come out with a Rs 150-crore relief package for farmers and others but had not announced anything for the fishermen.

"The fishermen in Puducherry, Karaikal and Yanam regions have borne the brunt of the inclement weather... Boats, fishnets and other equipment were lost or damaged during the heavy rains and flood," he said and appealed to the chief minister to announce relief for the community. 

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