Cyclone Michaung, which downed half a meter of rain on Chennai in three days, has left manufacturing units badly affected.
The most affected are the auto component manufacturing units in Padi and MSMEs in Ambattur, sources said. Padi, home to factories of several TVS group companies such as Sundram Fasteners, Wheels India, Brakes India and Lucas-TVS, which have a combined turnover of ₹25,000 crore, has been particularly hit, with the plants under several feet of water.
“The situation is far worse than we anticipated, we are assessing the damage and hope to be up and running by this weekend,” Arathi Krishna, Managing Director, Sundram Fasteners told businessline.
“There is water logging at the Padi sub-station and many of the plants. There is still no power in the Padi area and hence the companies in the Padi belt have not been able to operate, said a top official of another leading auto parts firm.
In a statement issued today, the Confederation of Indian Industry said that commercial establishments and industrial units operating in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Chengalpet, and Tiruvallur districts have also been affected due to the cyclone. “CII members operating in these districts are slowly returning to normalcy,” it said.
Chennai is one of the top global hubs for the IT industry. However, the impact of the rain left the industry searching for a solution as many of the IT buildings were surrounded by water making it impossible for employees to access it. Making it worse, Work From Home (WFH) failed in the last three days due to lack of power. And, even if power was restored there was no Internet in many parts of the city as cables were cut.
The social media was flooded with videos of the IT areas like Sholinganallur and Velachery surrounded by knee high water. A video showed a swimming pool-like appearance with water inside the Ascendas IT Park.
With the infrastructure unable to take the impact of such natural events could impact the industry’s image. Gopal Srinivasan, Chairman, TVS Capital Funds, in a post on X (Twitter) said, “Poor city management during the recent rains highlighted business continuity challenges in Chennai. With no power; no internet; no cellular service; WFH was not possible. As a major GCC and IteS Hub, this raises the question of Chennai’s viability as a ITeS/IT GCC.”
While any disruption to services will dent the image of any state or business, progressive companies have well-documented and time-tested business continuity plans in place. These plans usually get triggered in anticipation of an event, said Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, Partner at Catalincs and former CMD, Cognizant India.
The IT industry is used to such natural events not only in Chennai but also in places like Bengaluru and Mumbai. “Despite all these, the industry has bounced back strongly. It is all about resilience,” said an official of a leading IT industry.
“I think this is an exception. Tamil Nadu’s strength of talent, engineering colleges, leadership teams, entrepreneurship, good law and order in particular people safety continue to be key attractions for investment in the State,” said MP Vijay Kumar, CFO, Sify Technologies. Recently, there was a similar situation in Bengaluru when rains pounded the city. However, they did not affect investment decisions, he added.