Planes are seen parked at waterlogged Chennai airport on Saturday.(PTI)
Planes are seen parked at waterlogged Chennai airport on Saturday.(PTI)

Fresh rain in Chennai as passenger flight operations resume

Domestic passenger flights resumed operations from Chennai airport on Sunday and train services to other states limped back on the track as the flood crisis in the city eased a bit after days of heavy rain.
Hindustan Times | By KV Lakshmana, Chennai
UPDATED ON DEC 06, 2015 09:14 PM IST

All domestic and international flights will resume from Monday from Chennai airport. The announcement was made by the AAI director here on Sunday evening.

“We are happy to announce that it has been decided to resume the round the clock, all weather operations from 0600 hrs. on 07th December, 2015,” the AAI director said in a press statement.

But intermittent showers in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Cuddalore sparked panic among people. Fresh rain in the state capital and in other areas along the coast of Tamil Nadu raised fears of further waterlogging.

Nearly 450 have people died so far in the torrential rain that has been lashing the state over several days. Thousands are homeless.

In Cuddalore, 185km away from the state capital of Chennai, a warning was issued on Sunday for people in low-lying areas. Life came to a complete standstill in the area due to overnight rain that increased in intensity in the morning. In south Tamil Nadu and in the coastal areas, heavy rain is expected in the next 24 hours.

Faced with the flood crisis, the state is struggling to manage the relief pouring in from different parts of the country. Many areas have yet to see any relief coming their way as angry residents complained on television channels.

A local BJP leader, however, said the government was doing its best, and that in a crisis of such magnitude people must “understand and appreciate the difficulties”.

An Indian Army soldier distributes relief material to flood-affected people in Chennai. (AP)
An Indian Army soldier distributes relief material to flood-affected people in Chennai. (AP)

Prices of essential commodities have become steeper, with a bottle of water costing anything between Rs.50 to Rs.100 depending on where you are in the city. But milk supplies have improved and buses are plying in larger numbers.

The state government is also bracing for an outbreak of epidemics and has set up special medical centres to deal with the situation.

A government release said that around 200 more special medical camps became operational on Saturday, apart from the 216 already functioning. Earlier, 92 mobile medical teams were deployed across the city to tend to the needy.

AI flight takes off

All domestic and international passenger flights are to begin operations from Chennai airport from Monday morning and train services to other states resumed.

An Air India chartered flight took off on Sunday morning while the airlines’ flight AI 429 arrived at Chennai airport in the afternoon.

Reports said authorities had received requests from national carrier Air India to operate flights after the Airports Authority of India (AAI) announced daytime operations of passenger flights from the airport.

A total 34 aircraft of various airlines were stranded at the airport when the AAI shut the airport four days ago after torrential rains left the facility unusable.

The AAI had on Saturday declared the runway fit for operating technical, ferry and relief flights after an inspection by its staff.

On an average, Chennai airport handles 320 landings and departures. As many as 20 international airlines operate from the airport apart from most of the domestic carriers.

ANI reported that train services have resumed from the Chennai Central station and that schedules were expected to return to normal.

The first train of the day, the Chennai Central to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Andaman express left at 5:15am. The Chennai Central to Mysore Shatabdi express also left as scheduled.

The station, which had halted its services due to heavy waterlogging, still looked empty as only few trains were scheduled for the day.

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