Bhubaneswar: Cyclone Fani is approaching India and is likely to cross the coastal areas of Odisha on Friday. With the cyclonic storm fast approaching, the Meteorological Department has predicted heavy-to-very heavy rainfall in both Odisha and West Bengal this Friday.

At least 43 trains which were scheduled to run between Howrah and Puri and other destinations have been cancelled for the next two days by the South Eastern Railway (SER). As per an SER official, 17 trains bound for South India and Puri and 26 trains starting from South India have been cancelled.

There will be no movement of trains on the Bhadrak-Bhubaneswar-Puri-Visakhapatnam line during the time of the cyclonic storm passing through the district. In fact, special patrolling is being undertaken to keep those people safe who are travelling.

Measures by Odisha Government: 

As many as 900 cyclone shelters have been set by the Odisha government to house the people who have been evacuated from near the coastal region. The government has also requested for two helicopters to be stationed in the state for emergency food distribution. Both the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard, as well as 78 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), have been deployed as well.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), which is the country’s top body to handle an emergency situation, has also reviewed the preparedness for Fani. Meanwhile, the NDRF has deployed 12 teams in Andhra Pradesh, 28 in Odisha and six in West Bengal. Also, 32 more teams are on standby and have a whole lot of equipment which includes boats and tree cutters.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has directed the administration to ensure that people are safely evacuated.

Universities, Schools and Colleges shut down:

All state universities and colleges coming under the administrative control of Higher Education Department and located in Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Khordha, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts will remain closed from May 2 to May 4.

However, all teaching, non-teaching and administrative staff of the Universities and colleges will attend office as usual to conduct their normal activities other than teaching and examination, said the Govt of Education, Higher Education Department.

The Biju Patnaik University of Technology postponed all examinations from May 2-4 to May 25-28 in view of the cyclone.

Advisories Issued: 

An alert has been sounded in all coastal districts and people living in the coastal areas along with tourists have been asked to leave and go to safer places, an official said. Advisories asking fishermen not to venture into the sea have also been issued.

At least 19 districts of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are expected to be hit by the extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani, which has with winds equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane. The cyclone is expected to make landfall 10 km north of Chandrabhaga in Puri district on Friday afternoon.