Kolkata, May 20 : Aviation, railways and waterways services have been suspended as super cyclone "Amphan" lay some 200 km south of vulnerable Digha, a sea resort, and 310 km from Kolkata, while the West Bengal government set up control rooms with updated telecommunication to keep in touch of forces remaining 24X7 vigilant to face any eventuality.
Control room phone numbers are toll free 1070 24x7, 033-2214-3526, 033-2214-1995 and power department's 7449300840/94335-64184. IMD's 0900 bulletin said super cyclone current location was as an " extremely severe cyclonic storm over northwest Bay of Bengal near Lat .19.80 and Long 87.70 degreesE. The IMD forecast was '' To move north-northeast wards and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coast between Digha and Hatia close to Sundarbans during afternoon to evening of today ( 20 May), with a wind speed of 155-165 kMPH gusting to 185 KMPH".
While Indian Railways and aviation sector suspended all operation for the day, Kolkata Port Trust also suspended its work since Tuesday for precautionary measures. As rain and frequent storms lashed this metropolis and neighbouring districts since last evening, the streets looked deserted with people preferred to remain indoors. As lockdowns across the city looked relaxed much on Tuesday with rush of people could be seen across the city, the picture was reverted today with people forced to stay home due to rains and storms. There have been no reports of any casualty so far, although waves of the Bay of Bengal crossed over the guard walls and spilled over the roads at Digha. Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday spoke to chief minister Mamata Banerjee and assured her all necessary assistance to the state to face the natural fury. Ms Banerjee in an appeal to the people asked them to remain indoor until the authorities announced further. Ms Banerjee also requested the Indian Railways not to ferry the migrant workers until weather cleared.
She said all concerned departments have been alerted and the disaster management team has already arrived in several areas. She said, at least two lakh people have been evacuated from South 24 Parganas, 50,000 people from North 24 Parganas, 40,000 people from East Midnapur and 10,000 from West Midnapur. She said both 24 Parganas would suffer widespread devastation, while parts of Midnapur would also bear brunt. Stating that Amphan could be more devastating than even Aila, she said none should venture into the sea. She informed that the task force has already started working under the guidance of the Chief Secretary. Yesterday, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar appealed to all to fully abide by government directives to contain the ill effect of super cyclonic storm Amphan. Taking to his Twitter handle, Mr Dhankhar said, " Appeal all to fully abide by government directives to contain ill effect of SUPER CYCLONIC STORM #AMPHAN. "
" East Medinipur, South,North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Kolkata to be worst affected, " he tweeted. " Likely landfall on May 20 around noon. State/Central Government are in overdrive, " he stated. Mr Dhankhar appreciated efforts made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to contain the impact of severe cyclonic storm that made landfall on May 20. Talking to his twitter handle, Mr Dhankhar said, “Appreciate efforts @PMOIndia@MamataOfficial to contain impact #Amphan that makes landfall on May 20 East Medinipur, South,North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Kolkata likely to be worst affected by cyclone., “NDRF and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) are in a state of preparedness.,” he said. In another tweet, the governor said, “ICG ships and aircraft on patrol are directing fishing boats operating at sea to return to the harbour for safety.” “Proud of our scientific achievements #IMD for such accurate forecasts that helps efforts in synergy. Let’s keep the political virus away in these trying times,” he added. (UNI)