Cyclone Nivar | Puducherry escapes largely unscathed

After effect: Stagnated rainwater being pumped out with the help of a motor on Vallalar Salai in Puducherry on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: S_S_KUMAR

Puducherry escaped largely unscathed from loss of life or substantial damage to property from Cyclone Nivar that made a landfall in nearby Marakkanam on Wednesday night and menaced across the city with a nearly five-hour spell of heavy rain and howling winds.

The city had gone on a blackout since Wednesday night as Puducherry Electricity Department shut down main lines as a damage prevention measure. By about 8 a.m., the city stirred to life with people out on the street going about their lives.

Heavy waterlogging at places like Indira Gandhi Square persisted into the day causing traffic disruption and diversions.

A holiday had been declared for the second successive day on Thursday. Most shops remained shut while a few resumed business by afternoon. Many hospitals, especially those located in low-lying areas, worked with skeletal staff as employees were unable to reach the workplace.

In her preliminary assessment at around 10 a.m., District Collector Purva Garg reported to Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi that no loss of life has been reported in Puducherry and that the impact of the cyclone was mainly fallen trees and waterlogging of low-lying regions. That assessment would hold good through the day.

“With all the line departments working in tandem, the teams of NDRF and HADR acted as force multipliers in post-cyclone relief and rehabilitation so that the response time was very good,” Ms. Garg said.

In fact, the district administration rescinded its earlier directive extending prohibitory orders under Section 144 to 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The subsequent order by the Collector said prohibitory orders were rescinded based on a reassessment that there was no loss of life or major damage to property following evacuation, relief and rehabilitation measures. Further, the Indian Meteorological Department had informed that the cyclone had moved about 60 km north of Puducherry, the order stated.

The Collector has flagged the waterlogging in Rainbow Nagar and Indira Gandhi Square as old sticky points and suggested long-term solutions. From an engineering point of view, the issue of waterlogging has to be addressed for the future.

The Electricity Department, which reported that there were no major damage to poles or other electrical structures, was working on restoring three 110 KV sub stations — at Bahour, Korkadu and Kalapet — that had a breakdown. Power was restored in urban areas latest by 4 p.m. and rural areas by 10 p.m.

Data is being collated from the line departments to prepare a comprehensive damage assessment report, the Collector said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 9:32:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/puducherry-escapes-largely-unscathed/article33189015.ece

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