Intermittent rains on Sunday and forecast of more over the next two days kept Chennai, its suburbs and coastal districts on their toes even as normal life appeared to be returning to the flood-ravaged areas.
All flight operations, domestic and international, and train services from both Chennai Central and Egmore are to resume today as water levels in the Adyar and Cooum rivers receded enabling authorities to restore tracks this afternoon.
Throughout Sunday, there have been intermittent rains, which were at times heavy, in Chennai, its suburbs, Kanchipuram, Thiruvallur and Cuddalore districts where the weatherman has predicted more rains for the next 48 hours.
Rain-battered Cuddalore is likely to get heavy to very heavy showers, Meteorological department said, adding that yesterday’s showers were due to a twin weather system, including formation of a new trough of low pressure over Bay of Bengal along the Tamil Nadu coast.
Chennai city, which has been experiencing intermittent rains, would continue to be cloudy and rain or thundershowers, at times heavy, are likely.
Power supply has been restored in several areas, while it continued to be disconnected in many others where water has not receded as a measure of precaution.
Ravaged by heavy rains last week which crippled services, several private and public sector banks operated on Sunday. A big chunk of private and public sector banks functioned to clear the backlog caused by the rains which had paralysed ATM services.
As a precautionary measure, the state government has declared holidays for schools and colleges today in the districts, including Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur.
All domestic and international flights from Chennai, both day and night, will resume from today morning after partial day-time services operated on Sunday.
“….availability of Chennai airport for all weather day and night operations for all flights for which domestic and international terminals will be available from 6 am of 7.12.2015,” an Airport Authority of India statement said here late this evening.
This followed an inspection by DGCA for night operations, an AAI spokesman said.
The airport was shut down last Tuesday night after heavy downpour flooded the runway and all other operating areas.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathy Raju is likely to visit Chennai airport today to make an on-the-spot inspection.
Altogether five passenger flights, all of Air India, took off from or landed at Chennai Airport till 5 pm on Sunday. An Oman Air plane stranded at the Chennai airport departed for Muscat with two crew. Four ferry flights also took off or landed at the airport, AAI sources said.
The Southern Railway has announced that 80 per cent trains, including long-distance, will be operational from today morning from both Chennai Central and Egmore terminals.
Anantharaman, a top Southern Railway official, told reporters that the railway bridge in Saidapet over Adyar had made a lateral shift and egineers and staff worked day and night to fix it.
At 1.45 pm on Sunday, the clearance certificate was given after which Chennai Beach-Chenglepet services were resumed.
In two or three days, 100 per cent normalcy will be restored from Chennai, he said.
The railways ran 70 special trains carrying 45,000 passengers to their destinations. In all, 560 trains were cancelled during the floods.
Meanwhile, airdropping of relief and aerial rescue efforts have been called off with overall improvement in the situation.
“The water level in the city has gone down considerably after initial days of flooding, and since last evening all aerial rescue and relief operations have been called off. There are no further communications from either Tamil Nadu or the Centre to carry them out as the city is slowly returning to normalcy,” a top IAF official told PTI.
In coordinated efforts over the last few days, the Indian Air Force and National Disaster Response Force had airlifted close to 1500 people and transported them to safety, including 400 stranded students.
To ease the travails of the city where normal life was thrown into complete disarray following unprecedented rain, triggering scarcity of essential commodities, 11 state-run mobile fresh farm outlets have begun selling vegetables.
To bring normal life back on track, the Chennai Municipal Corporation has pressed into service 24,500 sanitation personnel, including 2,000 drawn from other districts, to clear the garbage and tidy up the city.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, meanwhile, sanctioned Rs 4 lakh solatium to the next of kin of seven persons who died in rain-related incidents from December 1-4 in various parts of Tamil Nadu, including Chennai.
To avoid oxygen scarcity, 50,000 litres of medical oxygen has been procured from other states with Health Minister Vijayabaskar inspecting the arrivals, a state government release said.
On Wednesday, 18 persons had died in a private hospital after back up generators were inundated, resulting in snapping of oxygen and ventilator support.
In Cuddalore district, the water level at Veeranam Reservoir, which also supplies drinking water to Chennai, touched 44 feet out of its total capacity of 45 feet.
District Collector S Suresh said people living on the banks of rivers and canals have been shifted to special camps as water level has been rising in Manimuthar and Pennaiyar rivers.
Supply of milk from state-run Aavin has improved and was being increased from 10.2 lakh litres to 10.8 lakh litres on Sunday.
The state government has constituted 15 monitoring committees to ensure supply of Aavin milk and milk powder to genuine customers and those living in relief camps.
So far, 453 tonnes of milk powder has been distributed to people in relief camps in Chennai, Cuddalore, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts, it said.
Supply of vegetables saw a marked improvement though prices were on the higher side.