Chennai | Rain-ravaged Chennai was Wednesday crawling with air and road traffic severely hit as Army, Navy and NDRF teams stepped up rescue operations in worst-hit localities of the city that is also witnessing power outages. The non-stop torrential rains pounding the city since last night showed some let up in the morning but the inundated streets left commuters stranded.
In view of the water logging, Chennai Airport authorities have shut operations till 6 AM tomorrow. All airlines, including Air India, have cancelled their operations from Chennai airport. The Airports Authority of India has issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) to all air operators in this regard, an AAI spokesperson said in New Delhi. The spokesperson said Chennai airport authorities had initially shut operations till this morning but due to incessant rains it has now decided to extend it till 6 AM tomorrow. Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) is a notice containing information concerning the establishment, condition, or change in any facility, service or procedure, among others, in airspace management.
The Chennai airport operations came to a standstill at around 8.30 pm Tuesday.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that in view of the situation, the Centre has deployed Army, Navy and NDRF teams in sufficient numbers. “The Prime Minister has issued a memorandum and we have deployed our Central team there to assess the situation and make a report so that every possible help can also reach there,” Singh said. Two columns of army’s Garrison Infantry Battalion have been pressed into service in Tambaram and Oorapakkam after the Tamil Nadu government sought military assistance. The Navy has also been deployed to assist in the operations. More army personnel are coming to Chennai from Bengaluru, a Defense Public Relations official said. Navy personnel have been deployed in Sadiapet area of Chennai to rescue people marooned in low-lying areas. The NDRF is airlifting another 15 teams to the rain-battered state. While 10 teams are being airlifted from Bhubaneshwar to Tirupati, another five teams are being lifted from Delhi, NDRF DG O P Singh said. Each team comprises 40 personnel. The teams are also carrying 20 inflatable boats along with them for the rescue operations.
NDRF DIG and commanding officer have been stationed in Chennai to take stock of the operations, he said. Singh said that he is also in constant touch with the Relief Commissioner of Tamil Nadu.
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