Engineers and officials of the municipal corporation on Thursday visited residents of dilapidated buildings with a plea to relocate to safer places in view of cyclone Fani.
The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has also decided to set up shelters for people who have approached them. Police were also visiting neighbourhoods to advise caution to the people. Mayor Firhad Hakim has also promised to take necessary steps.
All senior civic officials would be in office on Friday night when the storm is expected to pass over the city. Metro lists some of the steps the civic bodies in Calcutta, Dum Dum and Bidhannagar have promised .
Announcements alerting people about Cyclone Fani on Lenin Sarani on Thursday. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
There are hundreds of old and dilapidated structures across Calcutta. Since Thursday evening, civic engineers were out on the roads with hailers urging residents of dilapidated structures to move to safer places during storm and rain.
“Many of these structures may collapse in the storm and rain,” said an official.
Pachu Ray, chairman of South Dum Dum Municipality, said their teams had also been put on alert. He said residents of unsafe buildings had been asked to move out till storm gets over.
Other than residents of dilapidated buildings, the homeless and those living in mud houses were also requested to spend the next few days in the shelters.
The CMC runs over 260 schools and many of them would be turned into temporary shelters. “We have made provisions of giving meals to people living in shelters for three days,” Hakim said.
The authorities have also kept a stock of rice, puffed rice, pulses and vegetables as emergency. “We have set up storm shelters in some schools and government buildings in Dum Dum,” said Ray of South Dum Dum Municipality.
CMC engineers have been asked to check the condition of electric poles. An engineer said LED strips wrapped around electric poles would remain switched off till the weather returned to normal. Even trident posts would remain switched off.
“We are also checking if any of the poles have any loose wire. We would snap them,” said the engineer.
Hakim said he had asked the CESC to ensure that there was no electrocution in waterlogged streets.
A youth was electrocuted in the port area in April last year when he accidentally touched an electrical feeder box that had been uprooted a few days ago. The box, wet following rain, was lying on the footpath.
The CMC also advised people not to touch any electric pole, pillar-box or transformer.
All drainage-pumping stations have been kept on alert. Hakim said the irrigation department would keep all the sluice gates closed during high tide in the river so that water from river do not flow into the sewer network of Calcutta and neighbouring areas and flood the streets. “Because of heavy rain, the sewer network would be full. If in addition water from river comes into the network, it would worsen the situation,” said an engineer.
All storm water drainage-pumping stations in Salt Lake and New Town have been overhauled and pre-checked to ensure that the pumps can operate at their optimum operating levels. Extra pumps have also been brought and kept on standby. Communications equipment such as radios and walkie-talkie sets have been kept ready.
Tree-cutting equipment, and hydraulic earthmovers have been placed at key locations in Salt Lake, New Town and Dum Dum.
Pavement dwellers being asked to vacate the space in front of a dilapidated building in Bowbazar Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Several billboards have been pulled down. A CMC official said the civic body was not “pulling down all flexes, but only the ones that can collapse during the storm”.
The CMC is keeping several teams ready to remove uprooted trees. Water tankers will be sent to places where water taps may go under water because of rain.
Bidhannagar, too, has made arrangements to deal with uprooted trees. Tapas Chatterjee, deputy mayor of the Salt Lake corporation, said that a new chain saw had been bought to deal with trees uprooted during storms.
No visitors will be allowed to go up to the viewing gallery of the Calcutta Gate from Friday. All water rides, including speedboats and zorbing, will be stopped at Eco Park from Friday, Debashish Sen, chairman-cum-managing director of Hidco said
If in need, here are the numbers to call your civic authorities or police:
- Nabanna: 1070, 033-22535185
- Lalbazar Control Room (Calcutta police): 22143230
- Bidhannagar City Police: 033-23358788/033-23410465
- DGP control room: 033-2214-5486
- Distress call: 100
- Calcutta Municipal Corporation: 033-22861212/1313/1414
- South Dum Dum Municipality: 9831221665, 033-25602357
- Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation: 033-23597915