Cyclone 'Amphan' may cause extensive damage on Bengal coast
Cyclone 'Amphan' developed into a super cyclone in the Bay of Bengal on Monday and has the potential to cause extensive damage in the coastal districts of West Bengal when it makes landfall on Wednesday, the government said.
The cyclone is expected to make landfall on the West Bengal coast in the afternoon of May 20 as an extremely severe cyclonic storm with wind speeds ranging up to 195 kmph.
The cyclone has the potential to cause extensive damage in the coastal districts of West Bengal, an official statement said.
'Amphan' will also cause heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of West Bengal, it added.
The districts of East Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly and Kolkata in West Bengal are likely to be the worst affected due to 'Amphan'. The storm is also likely to impact the coastal districts of north Odisha, including Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak and Balasore.
The India Meteorological Department has warned of a storm surge of a height of about four-six metres above the astronomical tide, which would inundate the low-lying coastal areas of South and North 24 Parganas, and three-four metres in East Medinipur at the time of landfall, the statement said.
The East Coast Railway (ECoR) on Monday decided to suspend running of all special trains on the Bhubaneswar-Kharagpur route in view of the approaching cyclone.
The railway line will be out of bounds for trains till further orders, the ECoR said.
In view of the cyclone forecast, the railway zone has decided to divert the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi-Bhubaneswar AC Special Train via Angul-Jharsuguda-Rourkela-Tata route bypassing the Bhubaneswar-Hijli (Kharagpur) route for four days.
Shramik special trains have been suspended and will not be allowed to run on the Bhadrak-Kharagpur route, the ECoR said. Parcel and freight trains may be diverted via the Sambalpur-Jharsuguda route, it added.
All passenger trains were already suspended in view of the COVID-19 lockdown and only some Shramik Special Trains, one AC Special Train, freight and Parcel Express were running as per guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs, an ECoR statement said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reviewed the preparedness for the super cyclone as it set out to make landfall on May 20.
The Prime Minister has directed that all necessary measures be taken to complete evacuation of people from areas in the cyclone's path and maintain adequate quantities of essential supplies.
All concerned have been advised to make adequate preparations to ensure maintenance of essential services such as power, the statement said.
The statement recommended review of telecommunications in the event of damages caused to them and also to ensure quick resumption of services in the event of any disruption.
The Indian Coast Guard and the Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations. The Army and the Air Force units in West Bengal and Odisha have also been put on standby.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 25 teams in Odisha and West Bengal. Additionally, 12 teams have been kept on standby. The teams are equipped with the requisite materials like boats, tree cutters, telecom equipment, etc.
The IMD has been issuing regular bulletins with latest forecast to all the concerned states.
The Ministry of Home Affairs is also in continuous touch with the state governments.
At the meeting with the Prime Minister, Union Home Minister Amit Shah was present along with senior officers of Government of India and officers of the IMD, National Disaster Management Authority and NDRF, the statement said.