Rains, which have been battering the southern districts of Tamil Nadu, have eased and people have begun to resume their normal activities. However, for the industry normalcy is still some time away. 

Tamil Nadu’s state-owned electricity utility, TANGEDCO, which owns 1,050 MW of thermal power capacity near the port Tuticorin city of the State and buys power from a few other power plants in the neighborhood, has suffered a huge loss of supply.

TANGEDCO’s Tuticorin power plant is “under 4 feet of water”. A source in the utility told businessline that TANGEDCO has suffered a loss of 3,300 MW of capacity; the utility is forced to buy power from the power exchanges. Of course, the moderation in demand because of the shutdown of industries has been helpful. 

An aerial view of the Thoothukudi area that got waterlogged due to heavy rainfall

An aerial view of the Thoothukudi area that got waterlogged due to heavy rainfall | Photo Credit: ANI

Fertilizer manufacturer SPIC, one of the larger industries in southern Tamil Nadu, had said in a stock exchange notification on Monday that operation of the company’s plant in Tuticorin had been stopped, said today that it was “taking necessary measures” to bring normalcy and resume operations “in a phased manner, subject to receding of water levels, resumption of normalcy in power supply.”

It further said, “at this juncture, we are unable to quantify the impact of this disruption,” adding that “necessary steps have been taken with the insurers.”  

Chemical units hit

In the Mappilaiurani village, Tuticorin, several chemical factories have been damaged by flooding and high levels of water. A pond breach at Korampallam village flooded many parts of Tuticorin, causing damage to the collectorate, hotels, and nearby industries. 

People wade through a flooded road after heavy rainfall, in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu

People wade through a flooded road after heavy rainfall, in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu | Photo Credit: è

Tuticorin region also houses some export-oriented food processing units. The current floods have wreaked havoc on food exporting units. Several tanning units have also been impacted by the inundation. 

Even as people were being rescued by helicopters — four of the AirForce and two each of the Navy and the Coast Guard, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin wrote to the Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, saying “we need more helicopters for rescue and relief distribution.” 

Rail services shut

The water-logged Tuticorin airport continued to be closed as of Tuesday evening. Both train and rail services continue to be affected. Some trains to and from Tirunelveli have been diverted. Some of the major arterial roads to and from the town have been cut off due to water logging. 

The VOC Port in Thoothukudi continues to be affected with both rail and road access cut off. 

The technology company, Zoho Corporation, which has its headquarters and its main campus at Tenkasi, a few km from the famous Old Courtallam falls, said there was no impact, as it had asked employees to work from home.  

Politics rains  

Inevitably, the flood situation has given birth to not a trickle of politics. While Tamil Nadu BJP President, K Annamalai, questioned the wisdom of the state chief minister, M K Stalin, attending the I.N.D.I.A meeting in New Delhi, along with a posse of ministers and officials, at a time when his attention was demanded by the floods, the State’s Minister for Milk and Dairy Development, Mano Thangaraj, took to X (twitter) to find fault with the Meteorological Department for not warning adequately in advance. 

Observing that “it is crucial to reflect on both the performance of our Meteorological Department,” Thangaraj said that “a significant issue was the time discrepancy in the weather alerts.” The Minister felt that “gap between the issuance of the Red Alert and the actual flooding was much shorter than what could have been ideal.”