Puri: Cyclone Fani would cross Balukhanda in Puri on May 3 afternoon. With this announcement, the Odisha Government has instructed all educational institutions in the state to declare holidays from May 2 until further orders. All the examinations should be rescheduled, said the state government. All state universities and colleges coming under 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.

In fact, tourists are being advised to leave Puri by May 2 evening. Also, non-essential travel to the districts most likely to be affected may be cancelled on May 3 and 4.

It must be noted that the wind speed before Fani’s landfall would be about 175 kmph and it will pass through Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack (Niali), Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj in Odisha before going to West Bengal.

As per the IMD bulletin at 8.30 AM on Wednesday, cyclone Fani moved northwestwards with a speed of about 10 kmph and lay centred about 680 km south-southwest of Puri and 430 km south-southeast of Vishakhapatnam. It is very likely to move northwestwards during next 12 hours and thereafter recurve north-northeastwards and cross Odisha Coast near Satapada, Puri district on May 3 afternoon with maximum sustained wind speed of 175-185 kmph gusting to 205 kmph.

After landfall, it is likely to move to Khurda, Cuttack, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore districts of Odisha and then enter West Bengal. Meanwhile, teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force gear up to face cyclonic storm Fani. The teams have left for Bhadrak at 12 PM today.

Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said they are prepared to tackle the repercussions of the cyclone. “We are prepared for the cyclone. Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam is ready, all necessary measures have been taken. In coordination with state govt of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, we are ready for the cyclone,” said Lanba.

Earlier today, the Election Commission of India approved the lifting of Model Code of Conduct from 11 districts in the state. Odisha Chief Electoral Officer Surendra Kumar said that the EC has also approved the shifting of polled EVMs in two districts- Jagatsinghpur and Gajapati. He added that the entire shifting process will be conducted in the presence of candidates and it will be videographed.