Dark new year for cyclone-hit Tamil Nadu districts

Chennai, Jan 1 (IANS) Tamil Nadu welcomed 2012 with celebrations but it was a dark new year for people in Cyclone Thane-hit Cuddalore and Chidambaram districts as there was no power supply. The cyclone has killed 46 people in south India.

A sizeable crowd assembled at the Marina and the Besant Nagar beaches here and flew balloons to celebrate the new year. People greeted strangers on roads and in some localities crackers were burst.

Police had an eye on the revellers to avoid any untoward incidents. Hotels and other joints staged New Year programmes, attracting party animals while the pious ones went to temples that conducted special prayers starting midnight.

Governor K. Rosaiah, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and former chief minister M. Karunanidhi greeted the people on the occasion.

In Cuddalore, several trees, street lamp posts and electric poles were uprooted by the cyclone that packed a wind speed of 140 kmph when it crossed the coast Friday.

There has been no power supply in Cuddalore and Chidambaram for the past two days.

‘There is no power, water supply is hit. We are not able to draw water from the wells,’ a housewife in Cuddalore told IANS.

Water is being supplied to people in tankers, according to a district administration official.

Officials said it would take at least two more days to restore power supply in the district as most of the electric poles have been uprooted.

In Puducherry, efforts were on to clear trees, electric poles and lamp posts. Power supply is expected to be restored in a couple of days.

At least 35 people have died in Tamil Nadu, four in Kerala and seven in Puducherry – mainly due to electrocution, falling of trees and collapse of roofs or walls.