By Our Special Correspondent
CHENNAI, APRIL 1 . Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to locate the proposed tsunami warning centre in Chennai.
In a demi-official letter dated March 31, a copy of which was released to the media here, she said establishing the centre in the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in Chennai would be "psychologically reassuring" to the coastal population of Tamil Nadu which was concerned about tsunami attacks.
It would not be appropriate to locate the centre in some other institution inland.
She added: "I am now informed that during the Inter-Ministerial Meeting held under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Border Management), Ministry of Home Affairs on 7.2.2005, it was felt that there has to be a mechanism in place for undertaking storm surge modelling at National and State Level, to forewarn the people living in the Coastal areas and to take up necessary mitigation measures in the medium and long-term and to establish synergy among various initiatives and to put in place an effective mechanism for a composite Early Warning System. I am told that the proposed Tsunami Warning Centre is to be located at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, Hyderabad. The operational objective of the Tsunami Warning System in the Indian Ocean is to detect and locate major earthquakes in the Indian Ocean Region, to determine whether they have generated tsunamis and to provide timely and effective Tsunami information and warnings to the population of the Indian Ocean to minimise the hazards of tsunamis, especially, to human life and welfare. To achieve this objective, the Tsunami Warning System should continuously monitor the seismic activity and ocean surface level of the Indian Ocean. Such a Centre is better located on the Tamil Nadu Coast and preferably, at Chennai.
"During the last decade, the Tamil Nadu Coast has encountered 7 Severe and Very Severe Cyclonic Storms. This has now been followed by the tsunami killer waves of 26th December, 2004, which by all accounts affected the Tamil Nadu Coast most severely. It is well known that Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Kanniyakumari areas on the Tamil Nadu Coast were the worst affected.
"The State of Tamil Nadu has witnessed as many as 50 seismic disturbances during the last century. A serious view of the dangers posed by earthquakes has been taken after an earthquake hit the Coast of Pondicherry on 25.9.2001 with a magnitude of 5.6 on the Richter scale. Its effect was felt in Chennai and the northern districts in the State. It may also be recalled that Tamil Nadu is being upgraded to Zone III in the revised seismic zonation map of India.
"The Tsunami Calamity, which struck the Tamil Nadu Coast on 26.12.2004 was unprecedented in its suddenness and ferocity, and was widespread in scale, affecting villages and towns all along the coastline, rendering lakhs homeless. It affected more than 9 lakh people in 13 Coastal Districts besides causing 8018 human deaths, 17,404 cattle deaths, injury to 3,444 persons besides dislocating 5 lakh people. Further, entire fishing communities in the State were completely affected and their lives thrown out of gear.
"In this background it is absolutely necessary to have a Tsunami Warning Centre at Chennai."
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