West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee cancelled her public rallies scheduled for Friday and advised people not to pay heed to rumours and stay indoors as Cyclone Fani heads towards the state.
The chief minister said, “We are fully alert” and keeping a close watch on the situation.
“I will ask the common people to try to abstain from outdoor activities as much as possible in these two days. And if you have to go out, keep an eye on electric poles and live electric wires. Switch off cable television lines and put off gas cylinders during the storm,” Banerjee, who is staying at Kharagpur in West Midnapore district to monitor the situation, said.
The state government has sounded an alert to cope with the extremely severe cyclonic storm.
“I will ask the people not to be scared and pay heed to any rumour. Do not panic but stay calm… Take shelter at nearby relief shelters. The administration is alert and monitoring the situation from time to time,” she said.
City mayor Firhad Hakim is monitoring the situation from the control room of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation headquarters, Banerjee said.
The mayor will also be coordinating with the disaster management team, the chief minister said.
“All arrangements have been made for districts. Relief materials have been sent to districts and we have opened one monitoring cell at the state secretariat 24X7 to keep a watch on the situation. I will request people staying in dilapidated houses to move to safer places,” she said.
The state government has taken all precautionary measures for districts like East and West Midnapore, both North and South 24 Parganas besides, Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram and Kolkata and Sundarbans to avert any untoward incident.
Six National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed at Digha in East Midnapore, Kakdwip and Dhamakhali in South 24 Parganas, Basirhat in North 24 Parganas, Basirhat and Kharagpur in Purba Midnapore and Sankrail in Jhargram.
Four teams of the State Disaster Response Force(SDRF) have been moved to Basanti in South 24 Parganas district, Contai and Haldia in East Midnapore and Aramnbagh in Hooghly.
One standby team of the SDRF will be ready at the state secretariat to move to any place.
Several trains from the city have been cancelled while the city airport has decided to remain shut for nearly 20 hours from 3 PM Friday till 8 AM Saturday.
Kolkata Police has opened a control room at its headquarters to monitor the situation in the city.
All government and government-aided schools have suspended classes from Friday and the Health Department has cancelled leave of doctors and the staff till May 6.
Packing heavy rain and winds with speeds of up to 175 kmph, the cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ slammed into the Odisha coast on Friday morning.