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Chennai floods: Airport shuts down due to overflowing of water

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Chennai: All international and domestic flights to and from Chennai have been cancelled and the Chennai International Airport at Meenambakkam has been shut till 12 noon on December 6, the civil aviation ministry announced on Wednesday.

As many as 12 domestic and 12 international arrivals were diverted on Wednesday and 34 aircraft were stranded at Chennai airport, said an official statement.

According to the ministry, only one international flight arrival was cleared owing to a medical emergency.

The unprecedented torrential downpour forced all navigational aids within the airfield to be switched off due to waterlogging, leaving only the secondary surveillance radar available.

By 6 a.m. on Wednesday, the entire operational area of Chennai airport was submerged under seven feet of rain water.

However, air traffic services for the overflying traffic were not affected.

Arrangements were made to transport 90 passengers by buses to Bengaluru and 200 more to Chennai.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) established emergency contact numbers: +91 44 22563100 and +91 8056220066 for assistance.

Meanwhile, budget carrier SpiceJet on Wednesday said it was closely monitoring the situation in Chennai following the ongoing deluge as operations at the city’s waterlogged airport had been suspended till further orders.

We are closely monitoring the situation in Chennai. All our operations at Chennai Airport have been suspended till further instructions as the airport is waterlogged and the tarmac is submerged in one and a half feet of water,

“Refunds have also been offered to cancelled flights and alternatives have been offered where ever possible,” G.P. Gupta, chief administrative officer of SpiceJet, said in the statement.

On Tuesday, low-cost carrier IndiGo said all flights operating out of Chennai were temporarily cancelled following the closure of the airport.

IndiGo assures all passengers will receive 100 percent refund against the flight cancellations made on grounds of weather conditions, and cancellation and change fee will be waived off for affected passengers till further notice,

“All employees have been accommodated at safe locations,” it added. The unprecedented rains, the worst in 100 years, have battered Tamil Nadu’s northern districts of Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram and Cuddalore.

(Inputs from IANS)

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CM Jayalalithaa seeks Rs 25,912 crore as flood relief

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Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the state requires Rs.25,912 crore towards flood relief measures and an immediate release of Rs.2,000 crore.

In a letter to Modi, the text of which was released to the media here, Jayalalithaa said the supplementary memorandum reflects the damage caused during the fourth spell of rainfall and the consequent floods in the first week of December.

“Tamil Nadu immediately needs an additional sum of Rs.17,431.51 crore for temporary and permanent restoration,” Jayalalithaa said.

Including the earlier request of Rs.8,481 crore towards relief and restoration of flood-affected areas, the total amount of central funds the state needs was around Rs.25,912 crore.

Stressing the state government’s commitment to rebuilding the infrastructure and reducing people’s distress, Jayalalithaa said the costs were huge and difficult for the state government to meet, after the loss of tax revenue due to the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.

Pointing out that the floods in Tamil Nadu have already been declared a “calamity of severe nature”, Jayalalithaa requested Modi to instruct the union home ministry and other concerned ministries to consider the state’s two memoranda for an assistance of Rs.25,912 crore.

She urged Modi for an immediate release of Rs.2,000 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund.

Heavy rains — the worst in a century — battered Chennai and adjoining Kanchipuram, Cuddalore and Thiruvallur districts in the past month resulting in unprecedented floods. Nearly 390 people lost their lives due to the rains.

On November 23, Jayalalithaa sent a memorandum to Modi asking for central funding of Rs.8,481 crore towards flood relief and an immediate relief of Rs.2,000 crore.

Subsequently, a central government team surveyed the flood destruction.

Even after the team’s visit, heavy rains continued to hit the four districts.

During Modi’s recent visit, he announced a relief of Rs.1,000 crore in addition to the earlier Rs.940 crore.

According to Jayalalithaa, the Rs.940 crore included Rs.133.79 crore of arrears from 2014-15 towards the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and Rs.254.62 crore towards the second instalment of SDRF for current fiscal.(IANS)