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Laila brings industrial activity to a halt

Last updated on: May 20, 2010 10:35 IST

Laila brings industrial activity to a halt

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BS Reporter in Chennai/Hyderabad


Heavy rain in coastal Andhra Pradesh in the wake of Cyclone Laila has paralysed industrial activity in the state, including closure of oil rigs in the Krishna-Godavari Basin. Cargo handling at ports also suffered due to the incessant rain.

Reliance Industries has stopped drilling at the K-G Basin for the next 48 hours. "Only oil exploration activities have suffered,'' said a person in the know of things. He clarified the natural gas activity was not affected as the pipeline system was under the sea.

Cargo handling at the ports has reduced considerably. "There has been a reduction in port handling. The ground is slippery, making it difficult to handle iron ore (in powder form)," said an official of Krishnapatnam Port in Nellore district. "There has been a Level 4 or 5 warning," he said.

Warning signals were also hoisted at Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Machilipatnam, Nizampatnam and Vadarevu in the state. Kakinada port too halted operations, delaying cargo discharge.

Over 300 villages in East Godavari and seven mandals in Krishna have been identified as vulnerable to floods.

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Image: Reliance Industries KG-D6's control and raiser platform is seen off the Bay of Bengal. (Inset) RIL Director P M S Prasad.
Photographs: Reuters
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About 120 cyclone shelters have been set up near Manganipudi beach, near Machilipatnam, the district headquarters. Fortunately, paddy fields had been cleared recently reducing the scope for damage. Some stocks, which are still in the fields are covered with tarpaulins.

Among others, the road network in many districts was disrupted after trees were uprooted due to the high-speed winds. The transport and logistics sector too would have to face the wrath of 'Laila' if the cyclone did not subside.

"As of now, there is no damage. But we would be forced to stop vehicles if the situation worsens,'' said Ramesh, a member of Hyderabad Goods Transport Association.

This would indirectly impact bulk drugs, cement, construction and other segments, he said.

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Image: A cyclonic storm

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"Laila is expected to cause a devastating effect in coastal districts," chief minister K Rosaiah said on Wednesday at a review meeting. The storm is expected to cross the Andhra Pradesh coast between Prakasam and Visakhapatnam by Thursday noon.

The Central Water Commission bulletin said the storm surge was likely to inundate the coastal areas of Guntur, Krishna and West and East Godavari districts. Orders have been issued to district collectors to evacuate people from vulnerable areas.

The public sector Chennai Petroleum Corp Ltd said that it was fully prepared to face the challenge posed by the storm. CPCL operates two refineries and produces close to 200,000 barrels per day.

Petroleum major Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd, however, does not see a major threat from the storm.


Image: A refinery in the Krishna Godavari basin off Andhra Pradesh coast.
Photographs: Reuters
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