Bengal readies for cyclone next week
The Mamata Banerjee government has decided to keep all arrangements — like deploying teams to clear fallen trees, restore electricity and relocate people from vulnerable areas — ready to deal with a cyclone likely to make a landfall in the coastal area between Bengal and Odisha early next week.
The cyclone is yet to be formed in the Bay of Bengal.
A high level meeting was held at Nabanna on Wednesday to discuss the preparedness to face the cyclone which could make landfall sometime between May 25 and 26 and it was decided that the state would leave no stone unturned to restore normality soon after the cyclone.
“The chief minister addressed the officials present at the meeting through telephone where she laid stress on keeping arrangements ready to restore normality at the earliest. The plan was drafted keeping in mind the bitter experience after Cyclone Amphan,” said a source.
According to the plan, districts that have seashores and districts which are near the coastal districts would identify vulnerable people living in low lying areas who need to be located if the cyclone forms and hits Bengal.
“The flood shelters in districts like South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, East Midnapore and West Midnapore would have to be ready. Sanitizers and masks have to be kept ready at the shelters as the cyclone might hit at a time when the state is battling the second wave of Covid-19,” said a senior official.
Besides, district magistrates have been asked to keep relief materials, baby food and medicines ready before the cyclone hits.
Mamata also asked the officials to keep teams ready to clear fallen trees and restore electricity at the earliest if Calcutta and its adjoining areas were hit by the cyclone.
For this, the Bengal government has already held meetings with the Coast Guard, army, navy and the NDRF and made it clear that their help would be sought in case the cyclone leaves a heavy impact in the state.
“The experience of Amphan has forced us to plan in advance. We don’t want a repeat of a situation where Calcutta would face power cuts for seven days and go through a severe water crisis like it had suffered after Amphan last year,” said a senior official.
The state government has decided to cancel leave for employees of departments concerned that deal with emergency services like municipal affairs, water supply, irrigation, sewerage, disaster management, PWD and health.
“If the cyclone forms, it could cause havoc in the state. The government is now getting ready to restore normalcy at the earliest. Amphan has taught us so many things and our preparedness is much better this year,” said an official.