As more than half of Chennai is marooned in rain water and almost all top IT companies have shut their offices for the third day since Monday, the IT and software workforces from Hyderabad have swung into rescue and rehabilitation operations through different methods. A few of them rushed to Chennai for direct operations while a majority of them are indirectly engaged from here.
Chennai accounts for around five lakh IT and software employees, while Hyderabad has around three lakh. “Many IT and IT enabled services firms have been shut since 30 November and are unlikely to open before Monday. Some companies including TCS, Infosys and Wipro have set up makeshift offices in the north of Chennai, but the employees are unable to come as they are stranded there. Some of us have volunteered to come here,” V. Balasubramanyam, a manager in TCS, told The Sunday Guardian.
According to information available with the IT department of the Telangana government, around 8,000 employees of different IT and ITES firms from Hyderabad have volunteered to go to Chennai till the situation improves. Some companies have asked their staff to go to Bangalore which is closer to Chennai and take up extra work.
But a greater amount of rescue work is being done by the Hyderabad-based IT employees through social media and Internet. Almost all the IT companies in Hi-Tech City, which is home to around 2,000 firms, have come up with small rescue teams for Chennai. These teams are helping Chennai people through GPS and other mapping services in finding food, medicines, clothing and shelter.
As Hyderabad and parts of Andhra Pradesh are shown on the GPS as rain-hit areas, appeals for relief and rescue are occupying prime space on social media.
WhatsApp is flooded with messages offering shelter to the displaced and stranded people in rain marooned areas of Chennai — “@satyam cinemas: yes, we have opened our doors to those who need shelter tonight” is one such message re-sent from Hyderabad.
Internet is not working in many parts of Chennai, so these teams are using TV scrolls to flash information about shelter houses and food distribution centres in Chennai. “We are distributing food packets supplied from Hyderabad and Bangalore in rain marooned areas till Monday-Tuesday,” Sai Kiran, an employee of Infosys from the city, told this paper on phone from Chennai.
These youth are busy coordinating food distribution in Chennai, offered by different agencies. For example, SRM University came forward to donate 50,000 food packets every day on its campus, but there is no one to help them distribute that. IT people from Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kochi are taking up that responsibility, said Jogin, an official of SRM University.
Some of the pages monitored by IT professionals to help out the locals are: www.facebook.com/ChennaiRainRelief 2015, docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/, osm-in, github.io/food-map/Chennai. Not only Chennai, these teams are spreading rescue information in nearby areas and towns like Tiruvottiyur, Thiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu and Cheyyur too.
The Telangana IT Association (TITA) with a membership base of around 10,000 has asked the Hyderabad workforce to extend all possible help to those coming from Chennai. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has donated Rs 5 crore to Tamil Nadu government.