Calcutta, Nov. 25: The government today contacted the Coast Guard to bring back about 300 fishing trawlers from the high seas as a cyclonic storm swirled over the Bay of Bengal 800 km south of Calcutta.
Relief secretary Nikhilesh Das said at Writers’ Buildings the trawlers had left the Digha coast two or three days ago.
Das, who met chief secretary S.N. Roy this afternoon, said the district magistrates of East and West Midnapore, North and South 24-Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly had been alerted and warnings issued. However, most trawlers left shore before the first alert arrived.
Fisheries department sources said each trawler is manned by at least 10 people and there is an estimated 3,000 fishermen from the state in the deep sea now.
Under the influence of the approaching storm, north-easterly winds are likely to blow over coastal Bengal and Orissa tomorrow evening at 60-70 km per hour.
“The cyclone is moving very slowly and is more or less stationary during the day. We are watching it closely and feel that it may dissipate,” said R.N. Goldar, deputy director of the Alipore meteorological centre.
What has added to the government’s worries is the fact that 50 fishermen are still missing from the cyclone that brushed past the state two weeks ago.
Governor Viren J. Shah expressed unhappiness over the communal tension in the country at the 16th convocation of the Kalyani University today.
The chancellor added that time had come to take on communal and other divisive forces.