More reports on: Infrastructure - general, Environment

Tech companies step in to provide relief to rain-hit Chennai

news
04 December 2015

Many tech companies have launched efforts to help citizens hit by the unprecedented floods in Chennai. Ola was the first to pitch in with the first of its kind initiative offering a boat service to help the rain victims. The company explained on Twitter that it had been "ferrying people out from water-logged areas" in the city after the water logged city streets became inaccessible to vehicular traffic.

The online food delivery portal, Zomato launched a delivery service for people both from the city and outside to buy food for anyone who was in need and had it delivered to them. It is called the 'Meal for Flood relief' delivery service which offers two meal plans, meal for two priced at Rs100 and meal for four priced at Rs400. The delivery time for both meals is half an hour and for every meal ordered, Zomato also offers one for free.

Paytm - one of India's largest mobile commerce platforms - too had launched an initiative 'Stay Safe' under which the company would give free talktime of worth Rs30 to any mobile number in the state. According to the company's blog, "If you would like to recharge anyone's mobile number so that they can remain connected during this tough time, please call us at 18001030033 and share the mobile number. We will recharge it with Rs30 worth of talk-time, free of cost". The e-commerce portal further said that people around the country had come forward to offer help through company's initiative - #staycharged.

Meanwhile, telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone, were struggling to keep their services going amid unprecedented rainfall in Chennai and surrounding areas.

According to a statement issued on Thursday by the GSM industry body association COAI, the floods had caused severe damage to telecom infrastructure.

"Unavailability of grid power, water-logging resulting in submerged sites and unavailability of diesel in the absence of transportation have emerged as severe roadblocks towards network operations in the affected areas," the statement said.

Operators were further facing problems in certain areas in restoring operations due to non-accessibility by road in affected areas/sites. "The industry has requested assistance urgently from the government for restoration of grid power, availability of diesel and opening up of road access to flooded areas," the industry body said.

Telcos are also doing their bit to help citizens, offering freebies to their subscribers in the region.

Aircel has rolled out free 10 minutes Aircel to Aircel calls across India to all its Chennai customers for the next three days. Bharti Airtel is offering 'Talk Time' credit up to Rs30 for all Airtel pre-paid mobile customers, while Idea Cellular had started crediting 10 local mobile minutes and 50 MB of 2G data in the prepaid accounts of 1.95 million customers in the five affected districts of Chennai.





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