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A Portland (US)-based company’s claim that tsunami might struck again, saw Indian government’s monitoring system go confused. A note from Terra Research on Thursday sent to India’s Department of Science and Technology was passed on to Home Ministry that further sounded alert throughout the coastal regions. The alert also asked for evacuation of already affected coastal areas. Panic resulted and brought the relief work to a halt. The clarification and denial of any consequent tsunami came later in the afternoon from the Science and Technology minister Kapil Sibal.

Terra had claimed that its sensors installed in the US indicated that there was a possibility of a quake of magnitude 7.9-8.1 over the next 12 hrs at the fault line between Sumatra and New Zealand. If it happens in the water, the chance of tsunamis was real, said the warning from the company.

When contacted by The Indian Express, Michael McNulty from Terra Research said: ‘‘it’s a new technology with very little known about it as yet.’’ Claiming that the firm can pick ‘signals’ of earthquakes more then 7 on the Richter scale, McNulty claimed that his team had a forewarning of the December 26 quake but by the time they analysed data, it had already struck.

‘‘This time, we did not want to take chances, so we contacted the Indian embassy and we applaud the Indian Govt for the speedy reaction and evacuation,’’ said McNulty.