CHENNAI: Boats belonging to the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) boats proved to be life-savers during the recent rescue operations on flood-ravaged streets of the capital city. Though TTDC boats had been used for minor rescue operations in flood prone areas off the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) during monsoons in the past, this was the first time time that the State owned Tourism Corporation’s boats were inducted to ferry flood affected residents on a massive scale, official sources said.
According to officials, 28 boats, including 20 motorboats from the Muttukadu Boat House on East Coast Road (ECR) and eight from the Yercaud Boat House in Salem district were rushed to Chennai to relocate flood-hit residents to safer places. The boats made umpteen number of trips, rescuing about 3,000 stranded people, an official claimed.
“While motorboats from Muttukadu were used at Saidapet, Ekkattuthangal, Ashok Nagar, Manapakkam and MGR Nagar, boats from Yercaud were used in areas, including Mudichur, to rescue stranded people,” an official said. The boats were pressed into rescue operations between December 2 and 4, the official added. Services of TTDC’s motorboat drivers and helpers were utilised for the purpose. “Our boats were used for small rescue operations in the neighbourhoods of Kannagi Nagar and Thoraipakkam in the past. This for the first time that TTDC boats were used in such a largescale for flood rescue operations,” officials underlined. Most of the boats are likely to return to Muttukadu Boat House by Monday, sources added.
Meanwhile, Mudaliarkuppam Boat House, located about 90 kilometres from Chennai on the ECR suffered heavy damages in the heavy rains and floods. Of the 15 motorboats there, three are missing, while a 32-seater cruiser is partially damaged. “There is no trace of the three boats and we are trying to repair the remaining ones. The boathouse, which was shut for the last 10 days, will be re-opened for tourists from Saturday with a few boats,” official sources said.
On an average, the Mudaliarkuppam Boat House attracts 200 tourists everyday, while the number doubles on weekends.