Road, rail, air links disrupted; Naval air station likely to become temporary airport;Chennai

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With the Chennai airport closed till December 6 following heavy rains and flood, the nearby naval air station at Arakonnam is likely to be turned into a makeshift airport for commercial flights from Thursday.

In the run up to the possible new arrangement, national carrier Air India landed an Airbus A320 carrying passengers from Hyderabad at the Rajali naval air station at Arakkonam at 2047 hours today.

Airports Authority of India has decided to keep the Chennai airport closed till December 6 due to the flooding of the operational and the surrounding area.

Chennai on Wednesday turned a virtual island and coastal areas of Tamil Nadu were marooned after unprecedented rains in 100 years pounded the city, its suburbs and neighbouring districts destroying road and rail links, shutting the airport and rendering thousands homeless.

Flood waters reached upto the second floor of the Housing Board colonies on the banks of Adyar river as people reached roof-tops looking for rescue and relief in several parts of the city and suburbs.

The death toll in the rains that have lashed the city and other parts of state has gone up to 197, officials said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spoke to Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa last night and promised all assistance, held discussions with his cabinet colleagues Rajnath Singh (Home), Arun Jaitley (Finance) and M Venkaiah Naidu (Parliamentary Affairs) in the morning to take stock of the situation.

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