Scary Cyclone ‘Gaja’ force TN govt shut schools and colleges


(Online Desk)

The State government has declared a holiday for schools and colleges in six districts on November 15 when cyclone ‘Gaja’ is likely to make landfall, said RB Udhayakumar, Revenue Minister, here on Wednesday.

Talking to reporters on the preventive measures taken by the State government, he said the Meteorological Department had warned that the cyclone had moved on West and South-West direction at the rate of 10 km per hour and it lay over about 490 km distance East of Chennai and 580 km distance East and North-East of Nagapattinam ( on Wednesday evening).

The cyclone will get intense after moving towards West and South West direction in the next 12 hours. Later, the cyclone will make landfall between Pamban and Cuddalore. Due to the cyclone, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram districts will get heavy rain on November 15 (today).

Hence, a holiday has been declared for schools and colleges in these districts. Gale wind at 100 km per hour is likely to hit Northern coastal of Tamil Nadu. Hence, the fishermen have been instructed not to venture into sea, he said.

He said the meteorological department had also stated that sea water intrusion may occur to a height of one metre in low-lying areas of Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram districts. Huts, electricity and telecom service cable may be damaged, and trees may get uprooted, he said.

The department recommended precautionary measures which include that fishermen should not venture into sea, fishermen who are in midsea should return to the shore and people who are living in huts in the coastal areas should move to safer places.

The minister said that in order to tackle the situation various precautionary measures had been taken by the Tamil Nadu government.

The measures are: petroleum outlets have been instructed to store enough stock at their outlets, telecom service providers have assured that they will stock enough quantity of fuel for generators for 15 days at headquarters to ensure uninterrupted communication service while it has been stocked at least for five days in areas likely to be affected.

Telecom service providers have assured to move the “Cell on wheels” to Cuddalore and Nagapattinam district to ensure uninterrupted service. The facilities have been done to send bulk SMS to a large number of people to spread IMD warnings from state emergency control room.

General public have been sensitised to not to resort to swimming, fishing and other entertainment activities in coastal areas. Residents of low-lying areas have been requested to move to safer places, parents have been warned not to allow their children to take bath and play in coastal areas. Water bodies are being monitored and district collectors have been instructed to take steps to keep generators at collectorates, emergency control rooms and flood relief camps.

DOs: Residents should follow instructions of TNSMART app; should listen to announcements by radio and television; valuable documents should be kept in waterproof boxes; essential food items, water and medicines should be kept at least for seven days; torch lights, matchbox, battery, band-aid, knife, dry foods, glucose and first-aid box also should be kept ready. Gale wind would damage doors and windows. Hence, keep the doors and windows closed. Drink boiled water, consume hygienic food, take care of the snapped electric cables, spray disinfectants in the surroundings.

Don’ts: People should not believe rumours. They should not park vehicles under trees, travel in vehicles when the cyclone makes landfall, go outside till official announcement released by IMD about the landfall of the cyclone. Fishermen should not venture into the sea.