NEW DELHI: As Chennai suffers ravaging spells of rains, technology companies have proved that the city is not alone. Several tech majors, from global giants to startups, have started initiatives to ensure that the locals remain connected, safe and are not short of food. Here are the programmes announced by 8 tech companies to help the residents during the Chennai floods, steps that show the humane side of corporate India.
Google has launched a Crisis Response tool called "South India Flooding" to provide Chennai residents emergency helpline numbers; crowdsourced list of places and people offering shelter; crowdsourced maps of flooded streets and other such important information. It also offers important tweets, updated news and videos on Chennai floods.
Along with this, a Google spreadsheet providing details about where city residents can find shelter, food, electricity and other basic necessities has emerged as a useful tool in this time of floods.
Facebook on Thursday morning activated its Safety Check feature for the Chennai floods. This feature lets users notify their friends & family that they are safe.
Airtel has chipped in to help the locals with an auto-approved talk-time of Rs 30, along with 10 minutes of free Airtel-to-Airtel calls. Prepaid customers will also get 50MB of free data. All three are valid for a period of two days.
For postpaid and fixedline customers, Airtel has extended the period to make bill payments. Service will continue uninterrupted for these customers, even they fail to make the payment by the due date.
BSNL is giving prepaid users in Chennai free local and STD calls to other BSNL numbers. For landline users, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the calls will remain free for a week, and phones with unpaid dues will not be disconnected for a week.
Paytm has announced that it will give residents of Chennai a Rs 30 recharge to help them stay connected during the floods. Residents need to call on 18001030033 and share the mobile number that they want to get topped-up.
Telecom operator MTS is providing 1GB of free data to all users in the Tamil Nadu circle (both prepaid and postpaid) for a period of three days.
Zomato has started a meal scheme wherein the company will provide a meal for Chennai residents for each meal purchased via its website. The meal scheme resulted in over 55,000 people across India buying meals and Zomato adding 55,000 from its own side for the people of Chennai. The company had to halt the initiative due to "distribution backlog."
Ola has joined hands - and resources - with the Chennai fire department to help residents reach their homes safely.