Chennai: Days after the heaviest rains in a century and floods left 269 people dead, thousands homeless and turned Chennai into a sea of water, the authorities have decided to re-open the Chennai airport from Saturday, where operations were suspended till tomorrow.
According to media reports, the Chennai airport will resume its flight services only partially to ferry stranded aircraft. The flights can only take off without passengers and no landings will take place. The clearance was given by DGCA following an inspection of the facilities at the airport.
"The situation is under control and the water has receded from the airfield side. We have made it operational and from tomorrow (Saturday) it will start working. We have allowed operation for the ferry, technical and relief purpose," Chairman of the Airport Authority of India RK Srivastava had said, as per ANI.
The operations at the airport have been suspended after water entered the runway following incessant rains for over a week now.
The southern railway also resumed limited operations from Chennai's Egmore station yesterday with five special trains leaving for Kanyakumari, Sengottai, Tuticorin, Madurai and Tanjore.
The railway authorities have also announced special trains from Chennai Beach station to Hyderabad, Tirunelveli and Rameswaram. Similarly, a special train will be operated to Mangalore from Arakkonam railway station.
Road transportation has improved slightly in the city, with many closed down bridges and routes opening up. However, several subways are still submerged, forcing people to take circuitous routes to reach other areas.
Most of the petrol and diesel outlets in Chennai are not functional though Indian Oil sources said there is no shortage of fuel and the problem is only due to power failure.
The outflow of water from the Chembarampakkam reservoir and Poondi Lake in Tiruvallur district, which caused inundation in many South Chennai areas, is kept to the same level.
Army Chief General Dalbir Singh had also conducted an aerial recce of the affected regions of Chennai and its adjoining districts to strategise further rescue and relief measures.
Though water has begun to recede from many submerged areas, many more still remain flooded, necessitating the rescue teams to continue to work on a war footing.
Two Naval vessels INS Shakti and INS Shyadhri arrived in Chennai yesterday with relief materials, while limited air services were offered from the naval airbase at INS Rajali at Arakkonam, some 85 km west of Chennai.