Even as the very severe cyclonic storm ‘Thane' is inching closer to the coast, the State administration has been geared to meet any exigency.
On Thursday evening, Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi held a review meeting with senior government officials.
An official, who attended the meeting, said departments such as Public Works and Highways, were in a state of preparedness. Their officials were constantly monitoring the position of reservoirs and keeping their machinery ready to restore any breach in roads or bridges.
Inspector General of Police (North Zone) C. Sylendra Babu told reporters in Cuddalore that 4,500 police personnel had been pressed into service in the coastal areas, from Pulicat to Mamallapuram to Cuddalore.
A bulletin of the Meteorological department stated that as at 2-30 p.m. on Thursday, the cyclonic storm over southwest Bay of Bengal lay centred around 180 km southeast of Chennai or 180 km east of Puducherry. The system was likely to move westwards and cross the coast of north Tamil Nadu between Nagapattinam and Chennai, close to Puducherry, in the early hours of Friday.
Many areas of the northern belt of the State and Puducherry would experience heavy rainfall. Squally wind with speed reaching 65 km per hour was likely along and off the north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts. As the department issued warning about storm surge of about one to 1.5 metre in many coastal districts, including Chennai, Puducherry and Villupuram, fishermen in the districts refrained from venturing into the sea.
A press release issued by M. Saikumar, Secretary of the Public Works Department, stated that the department, depending on the intensity of the rainfall, might start releasing surplus water from reservoirs in Red Hills, Chembarampakkam and Poondi. People living along the surplus courses of the reservoirs had been advised to move to safer places.
Another release from the State School Education department stated that no school in the coastal districts should hold classes or special classes for students in classes X and XII on Friday. The stipulation was applicable to all private schools too.
The National Disaster Response Force, stationed at Arakkonam, has sent its teams to the Chennai, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts. In Chennai alone, over 600 firemen from 33 fire stations in Chennai were placed on high alert. The official stated that mechanised boats, used by fishermen of the State, were berthed at ports, including Krishnapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Ennore. In Puducherry, a relief camp has been set up in Manalmedu for 40 evacuated families.