Tamil Nadu

Cyclone casts shadow over crisis-hit Mamallapuram

Nature’s fury: Heavy rain bashing Mamallapuram on the eve of Cyclone Nivar’s landfall.   | Photo Credit: M. Karunakaran

The once bustling tourist town of Mamallapuram now resembles a ghost town, with hardly a few seen out on the roads and only a few shops open. The tourist-dependent town had already taken a hit due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

The arrival of Cyclone Nivar, which is expected to cross between Karaikal and the tourist town on Wednesday, has forced its residents to scurry to safety. The pristine beaches located around Mamallapuram, which would have normally been filled with tourists, almost seemed menacing because of the rough waves caused by the heavy rain on Tuesday. S. Marimuthu, a fisherman in Kokilamedu village, said they had not ventured into the sea for the past two days due to the cyclone and had parked their boats on higher ground, based on the advice of officials at the Mamallapuram Special Town Panchayat that falls under Chengalpattu district.

At the Thirukazhukundram Road junction, which is the heart of the town and is where the panchayat office is located, a few shops were opened with not many customers. Several stone sculpture shops and gift shops, located around the Mada streets, have remained shut for several months.

V.A. Balan, a resident of T.K.M. Road in Mamallapuram, said due to the stopping of bus services from November 24 to 25 in the wake of Cyclone Nivar, even the locals have stopped going out.

The only place in town that was active in the midst of heavy rain was the panchayat office, where a large number of staff were attending to monsoon-related work, and a public speaker blared safety measures to be taken during the cyclone and urged fishermen not to venture into the sea.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 4:57:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/cyclone-casts-shadow-over-crisis-hit-mamallapuram/article33173265.ece

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