New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday approved the proposal of the lifting of provisions of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in Odisha’s Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Gajapati, Ganjam, Khordha, Cuttack and Jajpur to facilitate speedy rescue, relief and restoration activities in the wake of the cyclonic storm Fani which is set to cross the state by Friday afternoon.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had sent a letter to the poll body requesting removal of the MCC from all coastal districts in order to make it easier for the government to handle the cyclonic storm.

“Odisha has had simultaneous polls that ended on April 29. In this backdrop, the MCC be completely removed for all coastal districts of the state so that the government can handle the situation keeping the safety of people in mind,” said Patnaik.

Patnaik further said, “As per the latest predictions the cyclone is expected to make landfall in Kendrapara district with a wind speed of 200 Kms per hour and with a very high storm surge. The response to a cyclone of this magnitude has to be immediate, effective and sharp in order to prevent loss of life.”

He also requested the poll body to postpone the assembly polls in Patkura constituency and schedule it for a later date than the said May 19. “Evacuation, relief and disaster preparedness are all community based and at this point to have a politically supercharged atmosphere will cause serious dislocation in the preparedness,” said Patnaik.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued ‘yellow’ warning to Odisha and suggested a total suspension of fishing activities operations, extensive evacuation from coastal areas, diversion or suspension of rail and road traffic. The Centre has, in fact, ordered the release of Rs 1,086 crore to four states as advance assistance to take preventive and relief measures to deal with cyclone Fani.