Cuddalore (TN): Three days after Cyclone Thane unleashed its fury on this district and the Union Territory of Puducherry, relief operations continued on a war footing with more than 2,000 personnel deployed for restoring power supply but the government on Monday said it would take another a week to get things back in shape.

Though clearing of the major roads blocked by uprooted trees and debris by the cyclone came as a big relief to the administration, life continues to be hit in interior areas with relief workers grappling with the herculean task of restoring power and water supply in affected areas.

Tamil Nadu Rural Industries Minister M C Sampath, who is supervising the relief operations, said power supply would be restored in phases and it would take another week for return of normalcy in the entire district.

Cuddalore district bore the brunt of the storm accounting for 31 of the 40 lives lost in Tamil Nadu while in Puducherry seven persons were killed. The cyclone also caused extensive damage to crops and left thousands of people without shelters.

Educational institutions would remain closed till January 5 in Cuddalore district and till Tuesday in Puducherry.

Electricity would be restored in Cuddalore and Nellikuppam municipalities on Monday followed by Panruti, Chidambaram and Vridhachalam in a couple of days, Sampath said after a review meeting with officials on the progress of relief work.

An additional 1,000 engineers and technicians of the state electricity board from neighbouring districts have joined the 800 TNEB workers in normalising power supply.

The cyclone accompanied by gale with a speed of 135 kmph has dismantled the distribution network, uprooting transformers and electric poles, the Minister said. Sampath said the five-member team of IAS officials constituted by the state government was touring the affected areas to assess the extent of loss caused by the cyclone and would submit its report within a week.

He said milk supply was normal in Cuddalore town since Sunday with supplies coming in from neighbouring Villupuram.

District Collector V Amuthavalli said a compensation of Rs 5,000 each would be distributed to those whose huts were damaged. The damage to state highways, district and village roads and culverts had been put at Rs 300.25 crore.

In Puducherry, officials said restoration of normalcy would take another few days as work was on to remove uprooted trees and ensuring water and power supply as they rejected charges by opposition Congress and AIADMK of slackness in relief works.

Local Administration Minister N G Panneerselvam, on a tour of the ravaged areas, said that adequate manpower had beenmade available to clear the roads and restore power supply.

Restoration of drinking water was also taken up on an emergency scale and generators were deployed to operate the overhead tanks, Panneerselvam said.

He said at least one lakh people were being fed in relief camps.

Official sources said focus was on restoration of power supply in rural areas as supply had been available since Sunday in most of the areas within boulevard limits. It would take another ten days to complete the work, they added.

Milk supply has been restored in most parts although certain specific brands were only available.

(Agencies)