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Secretariat empty as entire team heads to battle cyclone

As Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Cabinet Ministers, MLAs and IAS officers were camping in coastal districts to monitor Cyclone Nivar relief operations, Fort St George, housing the state Secretariat on Thursday wore a deserted look.

Secretariat empty as entire team heads to battle cyclone
The almost empty parking lot at the Secretariat in Chennai on Thursday


The Chief Minister’s Special Cell and the corridors leading to the Ministers chambers had no public footfall and there was hardly five per cent of the government staff deployed to monitor the file works and logistics.

“In 2016, Cyclone Vardah damaged the windowpanes and brought down the trees inside the Secretariat. Government vehicles parked inside the campus were also damaged, but there were no such damages when Cyclone Nivar crossed the TN coast. Only a few branches of trees broke away and the all the buildings are intact,” a senior PWD engineer.

As department secretaries were posted as monsoon nodal officers for districts and the government declaring a public holiday in Chennai, the blocks in Namakkal Kavignar Maaligai housing the chambers of IAS officers were also deserted.

DT Next also visited the MLA hostel and found out that most of the facilities were locked with MLAs, not in town. “Only a few relatives and friends of the MLAs are staying inside the allotted rooms, almost all the elected representatives left the hostel before Tuesday to speed up relief works,” said a government staff at the new MLA hostel at Chepauk.

Following the declaration of public holiday for the second consecutive day in Chennai, government offices like Ezhilagam, Chennai Collectorate and Tashildar offices also remained closed.

“The Tahsildar office near Nehru Stadium is not functional throughout this week due to rains. So, I came to the Secretariat to register my application through the e-Seva Centre. But again, the facility inside the Secretariat is also closed,” said S Murugesan, a retired government employee hoping for a special camp to clear pending applications with the Revenue Department on a fast track basis.

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