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Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated

If December 2015 de-vastated Chennai with unprecedented rains and floods, this year the havoc was caused by cyclone Vardah. It crossed Chennai with wind speeds of over 100 kmph uprooting transmission and communication towers, electric power poles and badly damaged seve- ral thousand trees and plunged the metro in darkness and a communication shutdown. Electricity Minister P Thangamani listed the damage of electric poles, transmission tower and transformers that disrupted power supply to suburban Chennai. The metro had not witnessed such damage to its tree wealth in such magnitude. 

The civic administration should be complimented for its well-coordinated efforts to clear the roads of the massive volume of broken trees and to work towards restoring normalcy. The precaution in asking educational institutions to close and cutting out power supply saved precious lives. But for a week after the visit of Vardah, large sections of the metro, including the Guindy Industrial Estate, didn’t get power supply. Still Chennai bounced back to life. Minister Thangamani pointed to rushing electric polls from other parts of the state not affected by the cyclone and from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh which also provided the services of a couple of thousand skilled workers. Equal efficiency was seen in clearing roads of broken trees. Just imagine the task of thousands of tonnes of tree branches and commercially unusable logs and twigs that had to be moved out over long distances and these may take time to decompose. Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was busy visiting affected parts of the city offering solace and reliefs to affected people. One was reminded of K Kamaraj doing such work decades ago in times of natural calamity. 

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