Calcutta, Nov. 26: The cyclonic storm hovering over Bay of Bengal for the past two days continued to keep the state administration and meteorological office personnel on tenterhooks. It lay 750 km south of Calcutta this afternoon, having moved very little since yesterday.
“For two days we have been receiving warnings about this storm. But where is it' We can’t withdraw the alerts either. The fishermen could not cast their nets for two days in the middle of the season,” said chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at Writers’ Buildings.
But he is not taking any chances. The chief minister called up civil defence minister Srikumar Mukherjee this morning and asked him to make necessary arrangements to combat any emergency.
In response, Mukherjee issued a circular, cancelling the leaves of department employees for the next three days and asking the disaster management teams to stand by. The department’s speedboats were also checked during the day.
Relief secretary Nikhilesh Das said the cyclone has remained “practically stationary” over the past 24 hours. “Under the cyclone’s influence, gale winds with a speed of about 60 to 70 km per hour are likely in coastal Bengal tomorrow evening or night,” he said, quoting a report from the Alipore met office.
The district administration of East Midnapore and the Coast Guard have managed to alert fishermen aboard 300 fishing trawlers that went to sea on Friday and Saturday. “The trawlers are now returning,” said Das.
Alipore met office deputy director-general R.N. Goldar said there was an apparent “northerly movement” in the cyclonic storm, but nothing could be said at the moment. “We are trying our best to find out which way the cyclone will take,” he said.